Life Is Good No Matter What is a local charity founded with the intention of giving adults with advanced cancer a break and escape from their battle and diagnosis.
Troy Haslinger, founder, created the Akron-based organization after his sister, Holly, lost her battle with advanced colon cancer in 2011. Holly’s motto, even when she was in the midst of her battle, was that “life is good no matter what.”
Inspired by her and by others like her, Haslinger decided that something needed to be done.
He says, “We spoke with cancer patients who said it would be nice to have an escape from the blood tests, the treatments and all the appointments. We want to celebrate life today. We’ve done 10 escapes so far.”
Brandi Gangel, a board member of the charity, explains, “We try to help cancer patients and their families forget, if only for a few hours or a few days, that cancer has taken center stage in their life.”
Board members’ efforts range from raising money and working with physicians who nominate recipients to planning a special event for that family that could be a trip, a nice dinner, an event, a concert or anything in between.
“We plan the trip, document the trip with the help of a photographer and provide the family with a photo book to accompany their memories,” Gangel says.
Physicians refer patients to the organization to be recipients of one of these fun memories.
“We have a wonderful board of directors and they just do a wonderful job,” Haslinger says. “We work really hard as a team to get the referrals from the medical oncologists and then we vote as a board. We have an application process and once the Northeast Ohio recipient is chosen, we call them up and we sit down with them and plan an escape. Everything from a Christmas night program all the way to a man who went to Clearwater, Fla. Our goal is to be a national organization and have chapters across the country.”
Gangel added, “We, as board members, get so much fulfillment and perspective through our work with the organization. We meet the most amazing people; we work with recipients and their family members, who are faced with adversity and turmoil, yet are always strong and smiling. We work with physicians who truly care, who work hard every day to fight for their patients. And the community; the people who generously donate their time, money and resources to pay it forward never cease to amaze me. They remind me that people are inherently good — that life is truly good no matter what.”
Life Is Good No Matter What’s “Inspire Celebration” will be held on August 7 at Portage Country Club. The event hopes to continue to educate the community and inspire others to pay it forward. If you’re interested in attending, please send an inquiry from their website or Facebook page expressing your interest. The organization is always looking for volunteers and donations to help make a difference in the lives of those touched by cancer. Visit LifeIsGoodNoMatterWhat.org.