As Steve sat in the oncology outpatient room, receiving an intense treatment of chemotherapy, he was thinking of all the things he was missing out on as a young, recently engaged 30-year old. Once his mind cleared, he thought he heard giggles coming from the patients around him. For the first time, he realized who was in the room with him.
The majority of them were children.
What Steve noticed was incredible. These kids were smiling and laughing, playing video games, and watching movies. Steve had lived 30 years of his life with no regrets, but these kids hadn't had a chance to live their life and experience things that most of us take for granted. Amazingly, cancer and serious illnesses weren't stopping them from still being kids. In an instant, Steve’s outlook on his condition changed forever and he made a promise to himself that if he beat this disease, he would find a way to give back to these courageous children.
He kept his promise.
Steve is a Financial Advisor for Northwestern Mutual of Southern California. In addition to his financial practice, he became the Northwestern Mutual Philanthropy Committee Chairman for the Plocher network of offices, so he could lead efforts to give back to child-focused nonprofits.
Northwestern Mutual Foundation and the Southern California office has partnered with Starlight Children's Foundation for the past ten years, raising more than $1 million to deliver happiness to seriously ill kids.
And they have a lot of fun while fundraising!
In 2019, the Southern California office hosted an internal fundraising competition, “Calories for a Cause,” consisting of a friendly competition of basketball and dodgeball between four Northwestern Mutual offices. The company’s foundation, located in Milwaukee, matched all money raised. Using the funds raised, Starlight hospital partner, Summerlin Hospital Medical Center in Nevada will receive a range of Starlight programs! They will get a redesigned playroom (see before and after photos below), Starlight Gaming station, two Starlight Virtual Reality headsets, and Starlight Gowns for patients and families to enjoy.
Earlier this year, The Northwestern Mutual “Tees for Hope” Golf Tournament was held with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Starlight. The money raised will support the redesign of the birthing center waiting room at Anaheim Global Medical Center in California. The redesign will include a fresh coat of paint, new furniture, toys, and an updated entertainment system; this room will be inviting to children and families alike.
Just like Steve realized, when a child is battling a serious illness, they don't stop being kids. Starlight programs allow these children to experience the best in entertainment, technology, and comfort from the hospital.
Starlight is so grateful for the support of everyone at Northwestern Mutual for helping deliver happiness to seriously ill kids.