Rhonda is a Hollywood movie producer who says one Use Your Life Award winner inspired her to do something that brings her more joy that winning an Oscar. Lori Butterworth received a Use Your Life Award for helping families and their sick children spend more time together through her organization Jacob's Heart. Lori inspired Rhonda to change her life and help hundreds of families in need.
To find out how you can contact Jacob's Heart, click here.
"I set out to be a producer, and that's what I'm doing, but I realized that success is giving back to other people. I needed to find that in my life. This year instead of doing resolutions, I sat down and I wrote a list of things that I intended to do for 2001."—Rhonda
"Two days later I saw the Oprah show [featuring Jacob's Heart]. I watched the show and felt that was a sign. I picked up the phone, and I contacted [Lori's] organization, Jacob's Heart, and asked her how I could help her. It really was a miracle because an organization called Kids Cancer Connection also called Lori the same day. Little did I know that we would collaborate to reach out to these children."
"I got a call from Lori saying a family couldn't afford to bury their child. I started calling every person I knew. Even my niece who is 10 years old donated $2. I realized that $3,000 raised could give a child a dignified burial. Nothing was as fulfilling as that moment when I realized I had helped a family to bury their child with dignity."
How Rhonda's Helping Children
Some of Rhonda's ongoing projects are finding transportation for families to and from the hospital, flying relatives and friends in for kid's treatments with the donations of air miles through her web site, and getting phone cards for kids to call family and friends while in the hospital.
"When I look into the children's eyes, I see these really special children. That's the wonderful thing about giving. You think you're giving, but your more surprised by what you're given back." —Rhonda
For More Information on Kids Cancer Connection:
Surprise from AT&T
Many families of children with cancer have an even greater need for phone service. Family members need to stay in touch. Children in the hospital want to talk to their friends at school. Unfortunately... many of the families in Rhonda's program can't afford the phone bills. When the folks at AT&T learned of this, they wanted to help out by donating 2,000 phone cards to the Kids Cancer Connection. Each card has an hour of free phone calls—that's $35,000 in free phone calls!
Published on June 25, 2001