The Cause: The organization raises funds for pediatric patients (and their families) lacking money for meals, gas, parking fees and toiletries. It allows families to focus on their medical issues and takes the pressure off the day-to-day expenses. It also helps nurses provide support for the families. “My plan was for this to be the nurse’s cookie jar,” Baj explains. “When your child is sick, sometimes it’s just the smallest thing,” she says. “If you’re up all night by a bedside, a spare washcloth to freshen up can mean so much.”
The Founders: Dr. Pamela Baj and Dr. Richard Glogau
Fundrasing strategy: The couple throws an annual event called the Snuggly Soirée, which celebrates its 12th year on March 22.
Key Supporters: Ann Getty has been a crucial ally in the fund’s growth, pledging to host the annual benefit at her San Francisco home.
Amount raised: $2.5 million since the first Snuggly Soirée in 2006
Inspiration: While visiting their three-month-old baby, Gordon, who was born with severe orthopedic problems and would undergo two surgeries and extensive physical therapy, they saw a need for other pacients too. There was a boy, crying on a gurney in the hallway. Staff told Baj that his family, rushing to the hospital, had forgotten his teddy bear. Baj asked for a new bear to give the child, who was on his way to the operating room, but the hospital just didn’t have the resources. That didn’t sit well with Baj and Glogau. And children were missing more than just teddy bears. “Many parents had terrible economic constraints, like working two jobs or commuting long distances to see kids. Just paying for gasoline to reach their kids was a big deal,” Glogau says. The pair saw so much need: Families packing bread and peanut butter for long stays with their sick children because they couldn’t afford the cafeteria. A child with severe diabetes whose family could only afford a glucose monitor for home, preventing the child from attending school. Another child, weak from heart surgery, preparing to embark on a long bus ride because there was no other way to get home.
Get Involved: Visit ucsfbenioffchildrens.org, or email Kim Murphy at [email protected]