Grief exists alone among human emotions, in that it is born of both loss and of love. It never fades completely, but it does evolve. At times it comes in waves, threatening to crush our spirits and weigh down our hearts forever. But with the right mindset it can also inspire us over time, lifting us up to achieve things we never thought possible before.
On January 9, 1993, Kathleen A. Casey lost her son Barrett who, for five and a half years, had courageously battled Wilms Tumor, a form of pediatric cancer. Barrett, or ‘Bear’ as he was known to friends and family, had faced his circumstances with the kind of positivity and grace that seemed impossible for an adult, let alone a child of his years. As he endured countless hospital stays and painful medical procedures, he remained focused not on his own prognosis, but on the well-being of the other child cancer patients he encountered daily.
Early in this journey, Kathleen and Bear would come to realize that in the fight against pediatric cancer, the current system was losing the battle on two key fronts. First, there was an astonishing lack of research dollars being allocated for child forms of cancer. Despite being the number one cause of death by disease for children, less than three percent of funding went toward child cancers. And second, almost none of that money went directly to the children or their families, even as they sacrificed everything — emotionally and financially — in the face of almost insurmountable odds.
Prior to his passing, Barrett would spend hours with his mother discussing the formation of an organization, one that would reflect Bear’s own fighting spirit and desire to help others. This foundation would specifically fight pediatric forms of cancer, and streamline its efforts toward the children themselves, as well as the family members who never leave their bedsides.
Today, Kathleen is both Founder and CEO of the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, named after the bravest and most inspiring soul she had ever known. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year alone, Bear Necessities’ efforts funded more than $300,000 toward cutting-edge research. They also carried out 424 individual child/family experiences — known as Bear Hugs — looking to brighten the lives of afflicted children in whatever way they can.
Kathleen Casey and Bear Necessities have made their mission very clear: to forever fight, and someday eliminate, pediatric cancer. It is fair to say that, in many ways, Kathleen’s grief has defined her. She simply hasn’t allowed it to defeat her.
Through our 2019 #daprilecares campaign, d’aprile properties has pledged to stand beside her. Each year, our agents choose one philanthropic organization on which to focus our annual campaign. Through the combined efforts of our individual real estate agents and staff, we hope to do whatever we can to help these phenomenally brave children rediscover their childhood.
Charity begins at home. If you would like to join us in this fight, please visit our fundraising page HERE, or email firstname.lastname@example.org today.