I have been aware of Bear Necessities for the past 14 years. I have witnessed the passion they have for this very worthwhile cause. It is personal for them, and every effort to fulfill a wish for a child is done with love.
Kathleen and Courtney are so incredibly committed to the cause, and the most wonderful people to work with. I can only imagine how hard it was for Kathleen to lose her son and Courtney to not grow up with a brother, but their passion to eliminating pediatric cancer so other families across Chicago and Illinois (and the country) will one day never have to experience the same heartbreak is incredibly noble. It's impossible to not love this organization after meeting Kathleen and hearing her story and the way she still speaks of "Bear" and this organization is MORE than deserving of a top rating!
My son is a sports fanatic, and he especially loves the Chicago Bears. What he wanted most was to meet some players. Bear Necessities worked with the Bears organization to give our entire family a once in a lifetime experience - a practice day at Halas Hall where he met all of the players and coaches, and Monday Night Football with pre-game on field passes. We cannot thank Bear Necessities enough for making this happen!
My daughter was diagnosed with cancer at age 12, before that she was a phenomenal athlete. She loves sports! She is a wrestler, a softball/baseball player and dabbled in soccer, floor hockey, volleyball etc. She was very disappointed when she couldn't play sports anymore, so she started watching the chicago blackhawks and that really got her thru that difficult first months when they won the championship. Her favorite player is Hossa, so when bear necessities wanted to grant her wish she jumped at the chance to go see a blackhawks game. She had so much fun and they surprised her with a meet and greet with her favorite player. She cried tears of joy when she saw him. She will always remember her bear hug.
I have been on the Auxiliary Board for 2 years and a volunteer prior to that helping in the office and with off site events. What I love most about this organization is the ability to interact with the families that we serve.
I have had the opportunity to work with Bear Necessities on multiple events and every time they have been amazing and leave me anticipating the next one.
Worked as a volunteer this year. Loved the office, very close knit and cooperative. Everyone is so passionate about the organization and creatively trying to make a difference every day for these children. So much time and dedication from just the few employees alone, and even more from the volunteers and families connected… very inspiring to see!
I searched this charity out because of the number of people that I know, spoke extremely highly of the organization, the work they do, and longevity it has had. The work they accomplish with the staff size they have, is unbelievable. Thy have been around for over 22 years. And they lives they have touch is countless. Anyone who's family has been touched by Bear Necessities, can't seem to say enough about how wonderful and helpful they have been to the kids in need.
I attended a 20 year anniversary annual dinner dance, and there were children, some of who are now young adults, who all told their own stories of how Bear Necessities had help them when they were diagnosed with some form of pediatric cancer. They spoke lovingly of the assistance the organization had provided for them, and how grateful they were that someone was there for them in their time of need.
If you need a footprint as to how a non profit organization should be run, please investigate Bear Necessities. The world is a better place because of them.
I can not say enough about this organization. When our daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, they were there from the beginning. We live 60 miles from the closest Children's Hospital. Bear Neccessities furnished us with gas cards to help offset the expense of driving to/from the hospital. The staff is caring, compassionate and responded quickly to our questions and concerns. When our daughter was well enough to travel, Bear Neccessities provided us with a trip to a water park. It was so great to see her laugh and have fun after months of treatment. Bear Neccessities is a wonderful organization with an exceptional staff.
When my son had cancer Bear Necessities lifted his spirits immensely. I have since served on the Board having recently concluded six years of service to Bear Necessities. This is a fiscally conservative well managed charitable foundation, supporting cancer research, and support of families touched by pediatric cancer.
Wonderful organization!!! They granted a "bear hug" to my daughter. What a great experience for her! Can't say thank you enough!!!
I have been a involved with the Bear Necessities Auxiliary Board for four years. I became involved in the organization after attending an event and meeting with Kathleen Casey. After hearing her speak about her son's story I joined the auxiliary board. The dedication of the organization to impact pediatric cancer research on a greater scale is impressive; in addition it remains committed to helping children create memorable experiences with their Bear Hug program. The board is comprised of young professionals from varying backgrounds all joined together to help fulfill the mission of the organization. We are fortunate to meet the children and their families impacted by pediatric cancer as they go through this journey. It is my continued hope that there are less children in need of this organization as we eliminate pediatric cancer however, until then I will continue to support Bear Necessities.
I have volunteered with Bear Necessities for over 4 years. Originally I volunteered because I believed in the organization's cause. I have continued volunteering with Bear Necessities because I know how dedicated and driven they are to raise awareness about pediatric cancer and to help those who have been touched by it. The foundation staff are hard working for the kids/families they serve and are gracious for all of the generous donations. Nothing at Bear Necessities is taken for granted. It's amazing that 80% of funds raised go to directly help the families and to help fund research to eliminate pediatric cancer!
Everything they do comes from the HEART, with passion! Children should not die from cancer and BNPCF is doing all they can to that end...but help is needed from many people to keep on fighting for cures for pediatric cancer. Yes, it does/and will take a village to do this. Let's get more people on board. Every one we have introduced to this organization loves it has supported it in some way.
My daughter received services from Bear Necessities in 2010 and we are still in LOVE with them. They do so much financially and emotionally to support children going through cancer. My daughter is now a leukemia survivor and she received a very special bear hug, her very own violin and violin lessons. This opportunity was tremendous in helping her confidence and making her feel special.
I commend Bear Necessities in all that they do to provide such amazing services to children and their families.
Lillian De Jesus
I was a volunteer with Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation for 6 years and hope to return next year. This group of people and especially Kathleen are 100% devoted to these amazing children. The things they have done and the things I was lucky enough to be a part of brought so much joy to the children. And as we know their is no greater joy then seeing a sick child smile and have some joy. Great organization and great leadership
I have been volunteering with Bear Necessities for the past four months. Seeing the staff and volunteers work each day, it is undeniable that their dedication and passion is what separates them from the rest. The staff and volunteers never lose sight of their end goal, finding a cure for pediatric cancer. To say volunteering with Bear Necessities has been a great experience would be an understatement. Volunteering with Bear Necessities has been life changing. Kathleen went through an extremely traumatic experience and now dedicates all of her time and energy into this unique and special organization. What she does everyday is truly inspiring. I am honored to be a member of the Bear Necessities family.
After being diagnosed in 2003 with bone cancer, at the age of 18, Bear Necessities was one of the only non-profits that reached out to me. Because I was 18 and being treated for a pediatric cancer, other organizations thought I was too old for them.
Towards the end of my treatment I received a "Bear Hug" from Bear Necessities which was a gift certificate to my favorite mall. Not only did I receive that great gift but I was able to develop long lasting relationships with the members of Bear Necessities. Even after 10 years, Kathleen, Courtney and the rest of the crew are very dear to me. I am excited to see what is next for Bear Necessities as they continue to grow and help research, families and children dealing with cancer.
I have been involved with the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation for nearly 7 years now. I can't say enough wonderful things about the organization. Even as a new volunteer, years ago, I knew that this foundation was special and unique. As I worked more with the foundation, I started to understand why. Bear Necessities is a family. It is run by a family and helps families. Everyone who works at BN, and volunteers for BN, is dedicated and passionate and it radiates through their work. I've been a volunteer, served on the Auxiliary Board for years, and now continue to be involved at events and fundraising. Knowing that I could walk into the office at any time and visit and catch up with Kathleen or Courtney was always special and made me feel like a part of this wonderful family they have built. Obviously the work they do is honorable and wonderful, but the way they do it is what makes Bear Necessities truly special.
I have been involved with the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation for about three years and only have truly positive things to say. Two years ago I joined the Auxiliary Board and still serve on it today. The Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for pediatric cancer through funding research, but also provides so many needed services to those who suffer through it daily - patients and their families. I can't think of an organization I would rather devote my time and energy to and seeing what this group can do is inspiring.
Bear Necessities provides families in our community with the love and support they need in such tough times. We are lucky to have such wonderful individuals in our community to serve our children battling life threatening cancers.
Bear Necessities helped me plan a family trip to Florida when my Daughter was undergoing cancer treatments. They helped me with planning, got us some discounts and even were able to get us a free rental car for our vacation ! I was so grateful for there help ! Having a child with cancer makes trip planning difficult and they were so helpful to me. I was very gratefull !!!
I write this on behalf of my son, Jacob.
Jacob was diagnosed, right before his 4th birthday (June 2013) with a brain tumor. The tumor was causing hydrocephalus -- this lead to multiple surgeries to relieve the pressure, followed by weekly chemotherapy treatments. Jacob will receive these treatments for 1 year.
Watching my son undergo all these medical treatments has just made it even more clear that I was blessed with one brave kid. Jacob has tried his very best to keep his chin up throughout everything. Yes, he is tired, he gets sick more often than we would like, and he has regressed slightly with his social independence. It is heartbreaking to watch my active, happy, healthy baby boy try to digest what I'm not even sure I could.
Lurie's Childrens Hosputal reached out to Bear Necessities regarding our situation, and before I could blink, one of their volunteers was reaching out to us offering any available help/ support. They began helping us dream up a wonderful weekend getaway to Chicago. It was going to be so packed w/ fun, and we were certain it would bring a smile to Jacob's face. However, after a little thought, we realized Jacob would be too tired to fully enjoy the weekend, plus his nausea is so hit or miss, we wouldn't know exactly how he would feel that day.
Bear Necessities donated a swing set, and My oh my! The smiles and laughter that have come from this boy when he's in the back yard are amazing. Jacob is sometimes too tired to go to the park, so this has been such a gift. Anytime he's outside he says, "it's nice to have our own park back here". He truly thinks it's just like a park. To top it off, Jacob has a twin sister, and when he is sick or too tired, she can still get outside and have some fun.
As well as taking care of my child(ren), Bear Necessities has taken care of me and my husband also. They were well aware of financial strains that accompany the medical care, the travel, childcare ... and to assist w/ that, generously sent gas cards and grocery store gift cards.
This organization is a wonderful thing-- they not only take care of the child, but the family too.
We are not used to being on the receiving end of help, but we are truly grateful for Bear and his mom to have taken their sufferings and turned it into such a great cause. We are also so grateful there are people that care enough to donate and to volunteer.
Thank you Bear Neccesities!
Bear Necessities is a great organization! I currently volunteer here and the people I work with are amazing. Everyone is passionate about their work and I would recommend Bear necessities to anyone who is looking for a volunteer opportunity.
Amazing group of people! Wendy has been great with answering all my questions and responding to emails.
Being a board member has been an amazing experience...to see the organization driven by the passion of helping kids and focusing everything on that passion! I was able to deliver a Bear Hug in September and the look of delight on the young boys face was priceless. Whether we are to helping on the small impactful things for a child's life when they have cancer, or funding research to help eliminate pediatric cancer, I am inspired and blessed to be a part of this mission.
What a kind-hearted organization! They gave us gas cards to help with all the driving to doctors' appointments. They also gave my teenage daughter a pair of Lollapalooza tickets (& meal money) to use after she completed 9 horrible months of chemo - she was so excited! They also called and checked in to see how she was doing afterward. I also LOVE how they raise funds for research too so other children won't have to battle cancer like she did. Thank you Bear Necessities!!
This is one of the most amazing nonprofits in Chicago. Kathleen Casey took the most horrific situation-the death of her son - and created this Foundation that helps children who live with cancer, as well as their families. Kathleen is gracious, humble, yet tenacious about the Foundation. It is a very well respected entity in the non profit world.
Bear Necessities is amazing! When my 2 year old son was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, Bear Necessities went above & beyond to find him a swingset so he would still be able to play outside when he wasnt supposed to be around others. I recommend this organization to anyone who has a child fighting cancer.
I had been given a call for my son to receive a Bear Hug from Bear Necessities. With talking about what would be good for him to have, we received a toddler bed frame, pirate bed sheets, and a treasure chest toy chest for my 2yr old who had been diagnosed with a Wilm's Tumor stage 2 and was going through chemotherapy. This far exceeded what I had thought would be given to us, and it was just what my son needed at the time. He was able to go to his comfy bed all by himself instead of being lifted into the crib I had for him; and he could pick up toys easy with them all fitting in a toy chest, so it was fun for him to play and didn't wear him out to pick up after his treatment days. Bear Necessities is great!
Bear Necessities is one of the best organizations, hands down. As a former client (Cancer Survivor), the staff at Bear Necessities really did a lot for me. I did not really know much about BN previous to my battle with osteosarcoma, and I could not have imagined the great lengths to which other people truly went for me as I fought for my life. Though unexpected, it was definitely not unappreciated. I could never, and will never, forget what the generous team of volunteers at Bear Necessities have done for me. I was honored as a small miracle ambassador that following year, and as I interned for them (summer 2009) I really came to better understand what it is that they do. They're more than just a small miracle provider- BN is a big miracle, in and of itself. I'm glad that I was, and will always be a part of the BN family.
This organization is making a huge impact in so many young children's (and their family's) lives. Bear Necessities is filling gaps in 3 different areas on its mission to eliminate pediatric cancer and provide hope and support to those affected by it. It raises money to fund research. The grants are for researchers specifically looking into the causes and treatments of many of the most common pediatric cancers. It also funds hospital subsidy programs. The hospitals let the Foundation know their needs, and we help fill them. Finally Bear Necessities gives "Small Miracles" to the kids in an effort to help them forget they are sick for a day and treat them to a special day. The organization has sent many children to the American Girl Place and many of the Chicago area sporting events. The also give families gas cards and other necessities that make the traveling to hospital treatments easier. Katherine Casey has taken Bear's dream of helping children with cancer to the next level. Bear Necessities is truely a FANTASTIC charity!
Bear Necessities is a fantastic organization! I've had the opportunity to volunteer for events, work with the children and families, fundraise, and plan social functions to raise awareness/funds. This experience has been much more than I initially set out for. I have gotten so much experience from the opportunities at BN, but I've also made some wonderful friends along the way. This organization is far-reaching, but still small enough that it feels like a family. I can't say enough great things, and encourage everyone I know to become involved in one way or another.
Bear Necessities is an outstanding charitable organization that provides valuable resources to children afflicted with pediatric cancer and their families while raising much needed funds and awareness for cancer research. For the past 5-6 years as a volunteer, auxiliary board member and serving on the development committee, I have been fortunate enough to witness firsthand the incredible work done by the foundation. While raising funds and awareness is critical to accomplishing the mission of eradicating pediatric cancer, BNPCF also realizes how important it is to be there for the children and their families. Whether it is through the fantastic Small Miracle program or simply being there as a friend to listen, the exceptional staff and volunteers of Bear Necessities provide a ray of hope for those in need. The multi-faceted approach of being there for the children and their families while providing funding for cancer research truly sets Bear Necessities apart as a truly unique organization that works tirelessly day after day working towards fulfilling its mission.
Bear Necessities is an incredible charity that was started with a mission and a dream to help children with cancer be able to enjoy life like other kids. It is a small charity when compared to many others out there but their size is what makes everyone involved feel like they are part of a big family. As an Auxiliary board member for the past 3 years I have been witness to many heart warming success stories and have met amazing people that give their time, energy, and hearts to this cause.
Bear Necessities is a very special organization dedicated to the fight against pediatric cancer. The members of the organization work tirelessly to fulfill a twofold mission: eliminate pediatric cancer by raising funds for the benefit of scientific research and providing hope and support to the children and families affected by pediatric cancer. One of the key programs is the Small Miracles program, whereby donors can help brighten the life of a child by making their dreams and wishes come true, whether it's a brand new special toy or concerts to see a favorite team or performer. The volunteers, staff and board members of Bear Necessities are extremely dedicated and committed to making a difference not only in the effort to eliminate pediatric cancer, but also in enriching the lives of the children and their families.
I was honored to be a part of the gala event and have the opportun ity to listen to a youngman share his experince. I know first hand the support it provided for him and his family. Bear Neccesities was a god send and it allowed him the opportunity to not only survive but he has and continues to be a great success.
Over the past year I have had the pleasure of working with the entire staff, and have yet to meet a more dedicated team or a more positive group of employees. Everyone shares in the same goal, bringing joy to those less fortunate.
I have been on the Board of BNPCF for two years. I have served on seven (7) not-for-profit Boards over the years, but none as meaningful and purposeful as Bear Necessities. This survey asks "Your role?" I am not only a Board Member, I am the father of a former "client served" by BNC; My son is a pediatric cancer survivor. The Bear Hugs/Small Miracle program personally touched our son's life. Bear Necessities so impacted us that he has served as the Small Miracles Ambassador at a Bear Tie Ball (2009), as a Volunteer Student Summer 2009 Marketing Intern, and I joined the Board. I have watched many sick children smile as a result of BNC over the years, and have spoken to many families touched by the work we do. I spend as much time as I possibly can promoting the good work BNC does, and trying my heart out to raise funds to support not only our Small Miracles Program, but the important Reaserch and Information Support Service Grants that we award annually. God Bless Kathleen Casey and her hard-working staff! Please support BNC.
Bear Necessities is a unique organization in which it directly helps children and families affected by Pediatric Cancer as well as raise funds for cancer research programs. By utilizing this twofold approach they are able to not only help the families but also work towards a cure. The Small Miracle program grants children a wish ranging from a limo ride downtown, a princess bed to a Rihanna concert and meet and greet. Big or small the idea is to provide patients a memorable and fun experience when they can forget about being a child with cancer and concentrate on just being a child. The research grants allow Physicians throughout the country to work towards the common goal of treating and ultimately finding a cure for Pediatric Cancer. Not only does Bear Necessities raise money for this disease, they truly understand and work closely with the medical community. As a volunteer for Bear Necessities I have seen first hand the amazing work this organization does. The staff is truly committed and have personal ties to the devastation of Pediatric Cancer. They act as supporters, advocates and family to the little lives they are fighting so passionately for.
I became a volunteer with Bear Necessities shortly after moving to Chicago. In the past 3 years, I have never ceased to be amazed at the dedication and passion of the staff and volunteers. I have been lucky enough to volunteer at several events which allowed me to meet children who are currently facing cancer; their appreciation for the Small Miracles and group activities is incredibly heartwarming. This organization was started by a family and it continues to operate as one-making every volunteer, staff member, and child feel connected and valued.
My son was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 8 years old. When we were not sure if he would see his 9th birthday, Bear Necessities arranged a McDonald's party for him and a couple of his friends in the hospital. When my son was released from the hospital they had tickets for the whole family to see the Chicago Bears and a signed Brian Urlacher jersey for Josh. The thing I love the most about Bear Necessities is that they also are trying to find a cure for pediatric cancer, treating the spirit through the small miracle program and funding research to cure the cause.
Our staff at the hospital has seen, first hand, how Bear Necessities makes a difference in the lives of our pediatric oncology patients and families. The Small Miracle program gives kids a chance to have fun and gives them something to look forward to. They love brainstorming ideas for their Small Miracle and love to tell us about it after it is complete. The Family Support Program has helped countless families keep the lights on, pay the rent, get back and forth to the hospital, and so much more. I cannot say enough good things about Bear Necessities. Their support is crucial to our families during the course of their child's treatment.
I was introduced to this charity virtually at it's inception by a friend. My love for children is why I do any type of charity work, especially those fighting life threatening illnesses such as cancer. Reading the note from Barrett "Bear" Krupa about this foundation for the first time made it "REAL" for me. At that moment I knew this child was special, and then I realized his family, friends and supporters were special, too! Selfless giving is a trait too few people understand in this world. This year my teenage son joined me at one of the largest fundraiser events, the Bear Tie Ball. He was moved the the experience and will be supporting another event later this month with me. Whenever I get the opportunity to share the beautiful story of how this foundation began, I do!
I first became aware of Bear Necessities and its multitude of services in December of 2004, soon after I was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia during my freshman year of high school. Knowing firsthand the devastating impact that this one disease can have on a child, I feel as though I can offer a unique perspective, especially considering the fact that I have seen both sides of this organization—both as a child served through its “Small Miracle” Program and, more recently, as a volunteer intern during this past summer. As mentioned by previous reviewers and as mentioned on its website, Bear Necessities strives to serve the immediate needs of children and families affected by pediatric cancers while also searching for a cure that will provide for a brighter cancer-free future. While undergoing nearly three years of grueling chemotherapy treatments, the small miracle that Bear Necessities worked in my life helped me through the most difficult ordeal I have ever experienced. Indeed, with the years of seemingly endless hospital visits, nausea, and pain, dealing with cancer became less of a task and more of a lifestyle. Yet, with the small gift that Bear Necessities was able to offer, I was able to break the cycle—even if only momentarily—of chemotherapy treatments, spinal taps, and radiation. That, more than any monetary token, is what inspired me to give back to this organization that already gives so much to the community. In working with non-profit organizations within the public service sector, I feel as though one thing above all else stands as a critical element in one’s gratification and success, and that is, put simply, agreeing with the organization’s mission. While any non-profit can publicize and promote a cause, what’s unique about Bear Necessities is that its staff and volunteers exude and live for the cause. Each day, I am inspired and touched by the motivation I see around me. And what is particularly beautiful about this foundation is that it accepts volunteers and members from various backgrounds and of various skill levels. No matter what you feel you can contribute to this organization, you can (and will) have a say if you feel that you personally agree with Bear’s mission. As a local but quickly growing foundation, there is definitely a lot you can offer. Again, the organization has a beautiful mission, and its members make every effort possible to make that mission a reality.
I attended an event to benefit Bear Necessities recently. The people were warm and friendly. Every person I meet seemed to generally understand the effects that Cancer can have on a family and how it strains relationships. I only wish they could share their understanding with the general populous. I found comfort in associating with others who could relate and help with the process. Please seek them out.
As a summer 2009 intern at Bear Necessities, I can speak firsthand about the dedication, passion, and excellence that embodies this incredible organization. By working directly with families to provide "Small Miracles" & Family Support Services, they provide hope "where hope is hard to find." Additionally, they host regular hospital meals, where volunteers and staff can interact directly with the parents and children they have helped. Distributing over $400,000 nationally (and in Canada and Germany!) in grant funding this past year, Bear Necessities continues to prove that it is a non-profit that will continue to thrive as the years go by. The staff at Bear Necessities are second to none. Everyone is here because they want to be here; everyone works at this organization because they truly want to make a difference. It is this passionate dedication that fuels the greatness of Bear Necessities. If you are looking to make a difference in the lives of thousands, millions of children challenged by cancer, there is no better place to offer your time than with Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation.