Upcoming event hosted by Families of Children with Cancer

By C.A. Lawton | August 11, 2023

Who is the organization?

Families with Children with Cancer, Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization that supports families who have a child with cancer in Wisconsin and Michigan. They were formed in the 1970s, making them almost 50 years old. It was formed by a doctor and a few family members, parents who thought we should come up with a way to have our own internal cancer network, but it has grown to be much more than that. They’re more than just a group that gets together. They truly do make a difference in people’s lives. They currently support 435 families. The board’s development specialist Robb Collard is our accounting specialist at The C.A. Lawton Co.

They provide scholarships for kids when they reach college age, they provide mileage reimbursements, they give money for groceries. They’ve helped pay people’s rents. They’ve helped pay for people’s daycare. “If people reach out to us and they have a need and we can help them out, we’re going to do that. We’re going to find a way to make it happen, to ease some of the financial burden, because that’s going to come with cancer no matter what. We’re not going to be able to solve all their issues, but maybe we can put a smile and maybe change their trajectory for just that one day and maybe that’ll change their whole outlook,” Robb says.

The organization tries to put on two events a month for families to come to. Last month, they held two events: a gathering at a local amusement park and a baseball game for a local team called the Green Bay Rockers. “We include the whole family because cancer does not just affect the child, that affects the whole family. Sometimes family members come when the child is not there. The child may be sick that day or not feeling like leaving the house or are maybe immune compromised and can’t leave the house. So sometimes we see family show up and then they leave right away, and nobody asks any questions because everybody just gets it,” Robb explains.

How Robb got involved

Robb’s daughter Taylor was diagnosed in August of 2018 with T Cell Acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “We were we reached out within the first few days at the hospital by the group asking if we would like to be part of it. And so, I joined and the next day a duffel bag showed up in our hospital room. There was lotion, toothbrushes, nausea drops, a bunch of gift cards, and other things in there and I was like ‘what is this?’, Robb remembers. Looking back, Robb didn’t realize how important a bag like this was at the time, adding that “You never know when you have to run off to the clinic, you know, so basically everything in it is stuff she needed. There are things kids going through treatment can’t have because of certain chemicals. We learned that when Taylor was going through treatment. From then on, Robb and his family were involved in the group.

They started attending events put on by the organization and over time Robb started helping and becoming more and more involved. He was later approached by the president asking if he would like to help more. Robb was then voted onto the board of directors. Two years later his wife was voted on and now his daughter wants to be on the board as well. “But she’s still receiving the benefits of being the child. So, we told her to hold her horses,” Robb jokes. He became the development specialist finding ways to move the group forward. Whether it be coming up with innovative ways to throw on events for our families, using connections and networking to find pricing and maybe people that would donate their time or donate venues so that their events don’t cost them as much money. “The less we spend on our events, the more events we can have and then the more money we can give directly to our families,” Robb explains.

What is the event?

For the past few years, the organization has put on a fundraiser at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, WI. The event is a blast. It consists of the ballroom’s famous chicken dinner followed by a dueling piano show. Attendees have the opportunity to win great prizes. This year the event will be held on September 22nd from 5-9pm. This event is put on by Robb Collard. All the money that is raised at the event will be used to fund future events that we put on for Families of Children with Cancer.

To clarify, you don’t have to just be like part of The C.A. Lawton Co. or have a child with cancer. Anybody in the community can come. This event is a is a fundraiser to raise funds so that the organization can continue to provide for the families in their group. Everybody is welcome at this event. “We are little over two months away from the event, so we are in mid planning stages, getting raffle prizes and selling tickets right now and it’s there was only a few of us that that put it on, so it’s a lot to undertake to coordinate. 400 tickets sold, 400 seats, but it’s all worth it the night of,” Robb exclaims. “I’m really excited for the pianos too. This year’s pianos are legit. It is an extremely fun event. We this year are pulling out all the stops on our raffle prizes. I’ve got some things that are going to blow people’s minds this year and it’s just a fun way to come up and support local families and our board,” he adds.

Nobody on the board receives any compensation for their time as volunteers. In fact, many members spend a lot of their own money going out doing the legwork for these events. This year, the organization hopes to raise about $20,000 from this event. All the money made goes directly back into either putting on events for families or providing financial assistance for them in the form of gift cards, mileage reimbursement, restaurant cards for when they’re at the hospital, and more. This event is also a place where the kids and their families, as well as sponsors are recognized. If your company wants to donate at this particular event by purchasing a table that is welcomed and appreciated.

How you can join or help

“People really do want to give back, sometimes they just don’t have the avenue to do it. So, I provide that avenue,” Robb explains. You can find more information about the group and make a donation on their website. You can also stay up to date with them through their Facebook. Tickets can be available by contacting me at 920-471-6350 or by e-mail at RC7571@hotmail.com or rcollard@calawton.com if it’s somebody internal and they’re going to be in town. “So many individuals have gone above and beyond whether it be giving a donation or deciding to give money or wanting to help at events. There are really amazing people in this world who want to help,” Robb says.

Encouraging words from Robb

Robb states “I try to go to almost every single event that we have just to be there if anybody has questions about the group or has questions about anything. I just think it’s good to be out at the events so people know that we’re there. And I like to go there because I love to see families forgetting about cancer for a few hours. So many families come up to me at the end of an event when they’re walking out if I’m cleaning up or whatever and they say, you know what, thank you. We didn’t even know we needed this. We haven’t left the house in four months. We had no idea we needed this day. Thank you for putting this on. And then that just makes me want to go and do another one, you know? Who knows what effect you might have on somebody if you change their trajectory. Only good things, I would imagine. I’d like to think.” He adds that “The group literally changed my daughter’s positivity. Seeing kids go to these events who were affected by cancer but are now you know so-called remission and they’re doing better, and you see that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It gives you hope.”