It all started back in 2002 when Jason Turoff, an Avalon Park resident and local business owner of Specialty Rx Source, was invited by his good friend and BBQ master chef, John Rivers (owner of 4Rivers Smokehouse) to join his chili cook off team for a local fundraising event. After spending over 6 hours preparing chili and salsa and raising money for a great cause, our team ended up winning 1st place in the fundraising competition.
Years later, Jason started having chili cook-off parties at his home with close friends and family, but soon realized that his home wasn’t big enough to host as many people as he would like, and that this event could be much bigger, better and support a greater cause.
On February 22, of 2013, the vision of the 1st annual FIRE IN THE PARK chili cook off for CURE fundraiser became a reality in Avalon Park.
Like you, we imagine a world where no child is afflicted with cancer or deadly diseases; where every child is free to laugh and play without fear of contracting a virus that will invade a weakened immune system; where children are allowed to be children. We, at Florida Hospital for Children, want to make that world a reality.
The Kids Beating Cancer Pediatric Transplant Center at Florida Hospital for Children is Central Florida’s only dedicated pediatric bone marrow transplant center. This specialized unit is equipped with state-of-the-art technology in an environment specially designed for children to bring hope and healing to patients and their families. The center has eight private rooms, a playroom for patients and siblings, and the latest technology to treat over 80 diseases, while providing emotional and spiritual support.
Having this unique center in our community means that children in Central Florida can receive life-saving bone marrow transplants close to home with family, friends and classmates by their side. Without this program, Central Florida families would have to travel to distant treatment centers, possibly jeopardizing the family’s employment, increasing expenses and adding stress to an already stressful time.
With operating costs of millions of dollars a year, which is almost fully funded by charitable donations, it is evident that this program would not be possible without the dedication of its many supporters. Community partners have the opportunity to save lives by providing transplants to children who would otherwise not be able to receive treatment locally.
Due to an overwhelming number of referrals from physicians across Central Florida, the current eight-bed unit is at capacity. We need to expand the unit to accommodate additional private rooms, infusion space and family lounge areas.
Costs to bring a patient to transplant can range from $10,000-$35,000 outside of what is covered by health insurance before the treatment is even administered. Medicaid does not cover any costs leading to transplant.
Family Emergency Assistance Fund is specifically designed to provide financial assistance to eligible families so their children can start or continue critical, often life-saving medical treatments, they desperately need. The fund provides financial support to cover medical bills, rent, utilities and transportation expenses.