Baldwinsville Last year at this time, Tracy Licamele’s life was turned upside down.
Her son, Connor, was diagnosed with Wilms’s Tumor at 4 years old, and was hospitalized for 11 days after having a tumor and his left kidney removed. He immediately began chemotherapy.
While this was a devastating time for Licamele and her family, she was able to find comfort thanks to Maureen’s Hope Foundation, a Baldwinsville-based organization that offers support and assistance to people facing the challenges of a cancer diagnosis and other life altering diseases.
“It was during our darkest days that Maureen’s Hope entered our life,” Licamele said, adding the family was connected through the Maureen’s Hope program, Beads of Courage, offered at Golisano Children’s Hospital. “This alone makes these children smile and have something to focus on besides being sick.”
While Connor has been off treatment for eight months, the family still receives support from the organization, which has provided more than 840 personalized baskets to patients offering comfort and inspiration. Kristie Relyea’s family was also a recipient of Maureen’s Hope basket.
“I am completely humbled by the thoughtfulness, generosity and tremendous outreaching of support we have received from Maureen’s Hope,” said Relyea, whose son, William, has been battling neuroblastoma since he was 6 months old.
William was admitted to Golisano Children’s Hospital a week before Christmas and, just as Relyea was near her breaking point, Maureen’s Hope helped provide comfort.
“[Maureen’s Hope gave] us a ray of hope and a much needed reminder that little miracles do happen,” she said. “My older son, Nicholas, came to the hospital for a visit and we so enjoyed the most wonderful time looking through all the treasures in the basket. It was as if [Maureen’s Hope] knew our family so well and each item was especially chosen for us.”