The Mark Staehely Family Assistance Program

Make Your Mark established the Mark Staehely Family Assistance program to help children battling pediatric cancer and their families in their greatest time of need. Make Your Mark assists families with gas cards, food cards, etc… The Staehely family knew first hand how difficult day to day living expenses can be when your child is facing a life treating illness. It is our wish that no family be faced with the choice between food on their table or gas for their car to drive their child for the medical care they need. In late March of 2014, The Mark Staehely Pediatric Cancer Foundation sponsored an entire weekend for the kids at One Step Chicago Day Camp.


The weekend-long Chicago Day Camp is ideal for the child who may not be ready to experience a week away from home.  Campers are able to get a taste of camp and experience the fun of One Step programs while still sleeping in their own beds each night.  Activities include trips to the Chicago Children’s Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and other city favorites. We have partnered with Children’s Oncology Services, by sponsoring the entire camp this year. Check out this video for just a few of the great kids and moments they shared over the weekend.

Children’s Oncology Services has a rich history. In 1978, Dr. Edward Baum, a pediatric oncologist at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, had an idea.  As a witness to the extended medical treatments of children with cancer, and the social and developmental challenges that can result from missed school and activities–Dr. Baum wanted to create a healing experience for these special kids.  Children’s Oncology Services, Inc., and its One Step At A Time Summer Camp were born. Over the past thirty six years, Children’s Oncology Services has expanded its programming and services to meet the needs of more than 11,000 children and their families.  Today, One Step Programs have expanded far beyond Summer Camp.  Programs include skiing, horseback riding, educational and urban camps serving kids from Chicagoland and neighboring areas.

The Mark Fund at Northwestern Memorial Hospital

This fund is an extension of our Family Assistance Program in that it provides assistance to children and families that are receiving radiation treatment at Northwestern Memorial.

The MARK (My Achievement Recognition Kit) Fund in the Radiation Oncology department of Northwestern Medicine has been up and running for over a year now. The MARK Fund committee is extremely pleased with its success and the achievements made over the past year. Currently, all pediatric patients and their family’s receive the following items:

Backpack is given to the patient on the first day of treatment. The items included in the backpack are:

  • Water bottle
  • MARK Bear
  • Crayons
  • Bubbles
  • Activity books

Pamphlet explaining the story of Mark and the Mark Staehely Pediatric Cancer Foundation

  • Packet (1) is given to parents including $40 in meal tickets
  • Packet (2) is given to the parents including 5 Parking vouchers
  • A custom gift is purchased and given to each patient upon graduation

Please click here to read more about this program and how Mark has a lasting impact on the Department of Radiation Oncology at Northwestern Memorial. In 2013, over 95% of the allotted funds from The MARK Fund where given back to 100+ pediatric cancer patients and their families.


The Mark Staehely Treasure Chest Program


In December 2005 Mark’s Treasure Chest program was established. A treasure chest was built and delivered to the Children’s Memorial Hospital (now Lurie Children’s Hospital) Oncology and Hematology Department at the hospital. Mark’s criteria was very simple, you had to be a child in the hospital. That was the only criteria needed to get a toy 365 days a year, anytime of the day or night. That was Mark’s wish. The program was so successful that in November 2006, the Treasure Chest Program was established at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in the Radiation Oncology Department so that children undergoing radiation therapy always had access to a toy. Mark’s Treasure Chest program was also established at Provena St. Joseph Medical Center on the pediatrics floor in 2007.


Grant Programs

The Mark Staehely Memorial Scholarship Fund

Honoring Mark’s dream of being a firefighter, The Make Your Mark Foundation awards one $3,000 scholarship annually to a cadet/student pursuing a fire science degree at a two or four year institution.

Joliet Area Community Hospice Pediatric Bridge Program

The Mark Staehely Pediatric Cancer Foundation generously supports the Pediatric Bridge Program. The goal of the program is to enhance the quality of life for the child and family as defined by each child and family unit. It addresses, in a comprehensive and consistent way, the physical, developmental, psychological, social, and spiritual needs and issues of children and families through an individualized plan of care.