Through the generosity of John and Annette Heller, advocates and supporters of those battling pediatric cancer, $2 million has been donated to Children’s Hospital of Illinois to create The John & Annette Heller Learning for Living Center. Services through the center will provide local children and their families with the tools needed to live their lives to the fullest on their journey through cancer treatment and beyond.
The gift will fund a number of educational and support services that complement direct medical interventions provided at Children’s Hospital of Illinois and the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate, resulting in more comprehensive, life-affirming treatment.
Services to be available to children and families include school and career support; a patient and family educator; nutrition specialist; education and monitoring of ongoing health risk and late effects of cancer and its therapy; an adolescent and young adult program to address the educational and psychological needs as this group of patients undergo therapy and transition back to life after therapy; expansion of the Supportive Care Team; and specialized counseling and other assistance for effective coping and decision making related to receiving and living with a cancer diagnosis.
“Children and families face unimaginable challenges while fighting cancer. We feel blessed to help create services and programs to make their journey through cancer treatment and beyond a little easier,” said John Heller in announcing the gift. “The St. Jude Midwest Affiliate and Children’s Hospital of Illinois, together, do a marvelous job taking care of our sick children,” added Annette Heller.
“A comprehensive program of this kind is not currently available and will fill a needed gap that has been identified by both families and care providers. The Heller’s gift will allow Children’s Hospital of Illinois to better serve our pediatric cancer patients,” said Kay Saving, M.D., Children’s Hospital of Illinois Medical Director and Lead Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist at the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate.