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Evening celebrates woman's legacy

Ben Crandall, left, and Jack Chaney, right, are 11-year-old cousins who will attend the 11th Emerald Eve in honor of their aunt, Donna, for the first time.

Ben Crandall, left, and Jack Chaney, right, are 11-year-old cousins who will attend the 11th Emerald Eve in honor of their aunt, Donna, for the first time. Submitted Photo

— “They just kind of get some comforts from home and get some things that make it nicer for them and they don’t have to worry about costs,” said Crandall.

The foundation also redid the patient waiting area in the adult CF area of Albany Medical Center to make it more homey.

“They can go to that area and there’s really nice furniture, a beautiful desk, TV cabinets, TVs, a Wii hooked up,” said Crandall. “It’s kind of a living room you might have at home.”

Crandall knows the financial stress that dealing with CF can place on a family. The foundation can help ease that burden, too.

“It’s a very expensive disease so you can easily spend, in a couple years, hundreds of thousands trying to deal with [it],” said Crandall. “We provide money to pay car loans, insurance premiums, really anything that people need so they can deal with this as effectively as they can.”

That type of charitable handout can prevent families from facing the difficult decision of money or health.

“The worst thing is some families saying, ‘Should we buy the medicine that we need or go to the doctor appointment or pay our mortgage’ and … we’re trying to not put them in that situation,” said Crandall.

The Donna M. Crandall Foundation has grown beyond Crandall’s expectations, having just doled out its 1,000th gift bag. Donna would have been proud, said Crandall.

“She’d be really happy that we’re able to help people and make a difference for people,” said Crandall. “People who never knew Donna know of her and know the kind of person she was, so I think she would have been happy about that.”

There’s one thing Donna might not have been so pleased about, though.

“We laugh about this because I think she probably would not have been excited that we’re using her name because she always just wanted to be a regular person,” said Crandall. “She went to work three days before she passed away … with an IV drip in her arm. She didn’t want that kind of recognition.”

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