Kelly Anne’s light and loving spirit gave us our mission to help families caring for children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and injuries.
In March 1972, two months after her second birthday, Kelly Anne Dolan received the diagnosis of aplastic anemia at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The diagnosis introduced the Dolan family to a world of trauma, emergency trips, hospitalizations, separation, spiraling expenses, physical and emotional exhaustion, and great sadness.
It was during the five years of Kelly Anne’s illness that her parents, Joe and Peggy Dolan, learned of the many hardships their hospital “neighbors” were experiencing. Parents were losing their jobs, their homes, their cars, and much-needed services like utilities and phone, because the physical time and financial costs of caring for a seriously ill child removed them from jobs and decreased their incomes. Parents had to decide whether to pay the rent or a doctor’s co-pays, whether to pay a phone bill or parking fees at the hospital, whether to stay with an ill, hospitalized child or go to work. Peggy and Joe realized that these problems were magnified for single-parent families and grandparents acting as guardians.
Kelly Anne’s condition evolved into a rare form of leukemia in the summer of 1976. She died from the effects of her illness on October 5, 1976, a little less than three months before her seventh birthday on New Year’s Eve.
Joe and Peggy Dolan founded Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund (KADMF) over 47 years ago. The Fund was put in motion with the first donation they received as a result of Kelly Anne’s obituary notice. The mission of the Fund stemmed from the Dolans’ realization and experiences that there were little to no resources to help families in these situations stay “afloat.” They also recognized that, no matter what the diagnosis, serious childhood illness created the same psychological, physical, and financial instability for families in crisis.
The Fund provides financial assistance for needs not covered by insurance, respite programs, and non-cash items to families living in or traveling to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware for treatment. We also advocate for and provide information to families nationwide. Social workers, case workers, nurses, therapists and other healthcare professionals refer their patient families for assistance through a simple on-line application process. This method of operation assures the credibility of requests while avoiding the misappropriation of funds.
Throughout her life, Peggy has received many awards and honors. She was an original member of the Childhood Cancer Advisory Committee of the American Cancer Society in Philadelphia from 1986 to 2006 and served on the board of the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations from 2006 to 2009. In July 2009, Peggy was invited to take part in the Consortium for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In 2008, Peggy served on the Patient and Family Issues Subcommittee in her role as member of the Pediatric Palliative and Hospice Care Task Force for the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare.