Compassion Can’t Wait
It was a phone call like so many others that ASRL receives. Valerie Sobel the president and founder of the organization answered the call from a desperate mother, stumbling over her words and barely making sense. The woman was emotionally spent, physically exhausted and unsure of where to turn to in this darkest hour.
Her eight–year–old son was dying of a malignant spinal tumor and this single mother needed to be with him. Yet as nearly a half a million single caregivers in the USA must do, she had to make the almost impossible choice between caring for her child, or going to work. She had mounting bills, had to maintain the insurance and keep food on the table for her family.
It took Valerie, a few minutes to convince the mother that the organization was offering her a solution–a way to be with her dying child.
Giving human life dignity, both for the sick child and the parent, is what ASRL’s Compassion Can’t Wait program is about. ASRL was established in 1995 after her own teenage son, Andre, died from an inoperable brain tumor. Now ASRL is a public charity that has helped to date over 10,000 family members, and currently is supported by hundreds of donors across the United States.
Its mission states that "when compassion can’t wait and single parent families are in despair, the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation helps with urgent expenses to allow caregivers to stay at their child’s side."
Knowing there is no emotional room left for dealing with bureaucracy when a little one needs time, love and attention, Compassion Can’t Wait ensures that the parent does not spend precious hours filling out endless forms for aid when they would rather be, and must be with their child. Instead, the family’s social worker applies on their behalf after all other resources have been exhausted or are unavailable. In a 24 hour turnaround time the foundation and the social worker determine how they will attend to the most urgent aspect of the financial crisis, and develop a plan for future emergencies.
This typically entails paying rent and mortgage to avoid eviction, transportation, food, uninsured medications–and a piece of Valerie’s heart.
Where Are They Now?
When Harlequin honored Valerie with the More Than Words Award, an announcement was added to the Foundations (Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation) website www.andreriveroflife.org
The More Than Words awards process has been a wonderful experience that is designed with longevity in mind, adding a unique and golden piece of media event that will keep giving for many years to come.
Kudos to Harlequin for giving in this unique and unexpected manner.