Warren donating $1M to assist cancer families

Vikings executive Kevin Warren is donating $1 million to assist families with cancer after losing his sister to cancer in October.

A Minnesota Vikings vice president is donating $1 million to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital to help families manage the difficulties of children’s cancer.

Kevin Warren, the team’s Executive Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer, along with his wife Greta, have agreed to donate the large gift to establish “Carolyn’s Comforts,” a children’s cancer emergency assistance fund for families dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

Warren was motivated to establish the fund in honor of his late sister, Carolyn Elaine Warren-Knox, who died of brain cancer on Oct. 2, according to the release announcing the donation.

“A diagnosis of cancer is extremely difficult to accept and work through, especially when it involves children,” Warren said in the release. “Families should be able to focus entirely on the health and well-being of their child and, ideally, not be burdened with the additional stress of financial issues. My sister often talked of the struggles facing cancer patients, especially children and their families, and how she wished she could help; as a family we hope this fund can make a positive impact.”

The fund was set up to provide emergency financial assistance to pediatric families of patients with cancer and other related life-threating disease. The fund will help cover items like travel assistance; living expenses such as food/meals; lodging at hotels, utilities, rent and mortgage payments; lost wages; child care costs; support for out-of-pocket drug and medical expenses, supplies and co-pays; and other critical needs.

The distributions will be made by the social work team at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, based on need. Each family benefiting from the fund will also receive a specially-produced and Minnesota-based Faribault Woolen Mill blanket designated with the mark “Carolyn’s Comforts.”

“University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital is so fortunate to have support from generous community partners like the Warren family,” Dr. Joseph Neglia, Physician-in-Chief, said in the release. “With their incredible gift, our patients and families who may be facing financial challenges along with health challenges can focus on their care and healing.”

Over the past three years, the Warren family also has donated approximately 2,300 backpacks filled with school supplies for the entire school year to every student at Lucy Craft Laney Community School. The donations have come as part of the Warren family’s broader commitment in 2012 to “adopt” Lucy Laney, a school that is predominantly African-American and has 98 percent of its student population coming from underserved communities. In addition to the backpacks and school supplies, the family has also purchased basketball uniforms for both the boys and girls basketball teams and school uniforms for some individual students. Additionally, the family has agreed to design and fund the cost for an on-site computer lab at Lucy Laney that will be dedicated in 2015.

The University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital will recognize the donation to cancer assistance with a reception Thursday.

Additional contributions to the fund are also being accepted online.

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