Making Her Mark

Making Her Mark

When her son lost his battle to neuroblastoma 10 years ago, Sue Staehely pledged she would carry on his legacy of love, compassion and service. Through the work of The Mark Staehely Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Sue has been able to do just that – leaving her mark all around the Division of Hematology, Oncology, Neuro-oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation at Lurie Children’s.

It was Mark’s endless positive attitude and generous spirit that inspired the work of the Foundation. After he was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in 2000, Mark spent nearly every holiday in the hospital that year. Realizing how difficult it was to be in the hospital over the holidays, he spent the next few years dedicated to collecting toys, movies and video games for patients in order to brighten the season for them.

He taught all those around him that even in the most difficult of circumstances, you can find time to care for others. Sue puts it best when she says “Mark had the holiday spirit 365 days a year.”

Sue shares a moment with a patient on the 17th floor.
Sue shares a moment with a patient on the 17th floor.

Today, Sue keeps Mark’s generous spirit alive through her ongoing support for Lurie Children’s patients and families facing a cancer diagnosis. Through the years, Sue collected more than 800,000 toys for patients, spending hours upon hours in a storage unit during cold Chicago winters to ensure every child on the oncology floors received a customized bag filled with gifts of their liking. Just as Mark would have done, Sue of course made sure every other child in the hospital received gifts as well.

Under Sue’s leadership, the Foundation has also helped to raise more than $1 million for pediatric cancer research at Lurie Children’s and has funded an endowed fellowship award in the hospital’s Division of Hematology, Oncology, Neuro-oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation – helping to ensure children like Mark have access to the highest-quality treatments and cutting-edge research.“I learned many lessons from Mark, most importantly that ‘it’s better to give than to get’. I am so happy to be able to carry on Mark’s spirit of giving.”In honor of the 10th anniversary of the Mark Staehely Pediatric Cancer Foundation, we salute Sue on her life-changing work at Lurie Children’s and congratulate her on recently being recognized for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Chicago Chapter’s “Outstanding Volunteer Award.”To support the efforts of The Mark Staehely Pediatric Cancer Foundation, purchase your tickets to the organization’s 10th Anniversary Spring Dream on April 16.

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