During the course of this semester, I was an intern at Brian Moorman’s P.U.N.T. Foundation. The mission of the P.U.N.T. Foundation is to provide children affected by cancer and their families with the opportunities and support to enjoy the life for which they fight so hard. The Foundation provides assistance, valuable family-centered programs and events designed to enrich their lives, provide them with support and create memorable experience (www.puntfoundation.org/about). It is a local organization, with an office in Orchard Park. They serve both Roswell Park, and Women & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. Their focus is pediatric cancer. What sets P.U.N.T. apart is what they do for children and families—they provide direct financial assistance to families and children, and they stay with families even after they lose their child. Although some local organizations are better known—such as Carly’s Club, or Stone’s Buddies—those organizations are psycho-social focused. Once the child passes away, they disappear.
The main project I worked on throughout my time there was their Remembrance Weekend. The weekend took place this year at the Tamarack Club in Ellicottville, NY from April 22nd– 24th. This event is for the families who have lost a child to cancer. Throughout the weekend they get to build a support system with the other families there. The adults get to focus on handling their grief, and growing from it. This year, the keynote speaker was Greg Adams. Mr. Adams works out of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, running the “Center for Good Mourning.” The parents who attended the Remembrance Weekend got to listen to Mr. Adams speak for a few hours while their surviving children participated in grief-centered activities with a LMHC and Social Workers. There was also an art project that the families got to work on, and a ceremony for the lost children on Sunday morning, April 24th.
The weekend was an emotional one, and it drained me. At the service Sunday morning I cried, even though I wasn’t expecting to. I don’t like to cry, especially not in public, but seeing the families come up and talk about their lost child got me emotional.
At the P.U.N.T. Foundation, we are able to address the problem of pediatric cancer. P.U.N.T. cares for local families, and is, at least in a small way, helping families and children affected by pediatric cancer.