The Lonon Foundation is a 501 (C)(3) non profit. Our mission is to help children affected by their parent or caregiver's cancer diagnosis find comfort, heal and grow from their shared experiences.
I met Mike while attending the University of South Carolina. After graduation, we relocated to Charleston, SC, put down new roots and got married. Michael had a successful career as a mechanical engineer and I worked as an instructor at the College of Charleston. Life was good. It was normal. We were happy. Shortly after our son, Jack, was born, however, our life swerved off course. Mike was diagnosed with Head and Neck Cancer. My healthy 29 year old, non drinker, non smoker partner had a life changing and life limiting disease. It was devastating. After three years and the fight of his life, Michael passed away in April 2014, at 32 years old.
At the time of his passing, our son, Jack, was four years old, and our baby, Harper Rose, was three months old. I soon realized the great impact Mike's illness and his death had on our young son.
Jack needed a way to cope with the loss of his father and I knew I didn't have the resources, physically or emotionally, to help him. Luckily, I came across an advertisement for Camp Kesem at Duke University, and immediately felt relief knowing there were, in fact, programs out there for children who had lost a parent to cancer, I just had to get him there.
After attending the camp in Summer 2016, Jack came home more at peace, less angry, carrying with him the knowledge that he was not the only child who had lost his Daddy. I knew then that we needed this type of support closer, not only for our family but other families like us. With the help of a supportive group of family, friends, and community members, I began the journey of creating an organization that could yield that support.
All proceeds went to establishing our first TLF program: UPLIFT (Using Play, Love, Inspiration and Friendship as Therapy), co-founded by College of Charleston students, Dari Goldman, Alyssa Gallo and McKenzie Wofford. This monthly program, which runs Aug-May, provides FREE events for children 5-17 years old who have been affected by their parent's or caregiver's cancer.
All volunteers are College of Charleston students and are passionate about helping these children find peace, find strength and find one another.
It is an honor to provide a community for these brave, inspiring children as they go through something that only other children like themselves can truly understand. We thank you for your support.
The Lonon Foundation partners with local businesses and nonprofits to support our mission.