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Children's Progress: Winter 2017

Foundation News

Creating comfort, continuing care

Couple establishes fund offering extra support to palliative care families
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Hazel McKenna’s name appears on the facade of the Kay Jewelers Pavilion as a part of the 2014 Graffiti Project. “It encourages our belief that her life will not be forgotten,” said grandmother, Kelli McKenna, who with her husband created a palliative care fund in Hazel’s honor.

Thanks to their generosity, Tom and Kelli McKenna are helping to ease the burdens on families with seriously ill children. 

Through the Hazel L. McKenna Memorial Fund, patient families with children receiving care from Akron Children’s Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center will gain support for incidental items like parking, snacks, meals and more. The fund will also sponsor several of the center’s memory and bereavement services. 

The McKennas created the fund as a tribute to their granddaughter in recognition of the service the center provided to their family. 

“We were blown away by everything they did to make sure we were comfortable,” said Kelli. “It was round-the-clock care. The staff was wonderful.” 

The couple felt it was important to help other families in the palliative care center, particularly those struggling financially. 

“There are costs associated with healthcare that a lot of young families can’t absorb, let alone the added costs of parking, bus fare or even food,” said Kelli. “We wanted to direct our funds to pay for these extra things the center provides, because it’s the small incidentals that make a big difference.” 

Kelli and Tom feel honored that the fund will sponsor a number of the center’s bereavement services that “go above and beyond,” such as family photography, clay handprints and footprints, and funeral assistance. 

“These special things preserved Hazel’s memory in a meaningful way,” said Kelli. “And the support services the center provides are so critical. The Precious Parents group enveloped Hazel’s parents with support and friendship during the most difficult time in their lives.” 

Kelli said she and Tom hope that others will contribute to the fund to help it flourish for years to come. 

“You don’t know what a fantastic hospital Akron Children’s is until you spend time there,” Kelli added. “Everyone just wants to take care of you. With this fund, it’s our way to help continue this mission of care.” 

Make a difference for palliative care families 

Your gift to the Hazel L. McKenna Memorial Fund will give much-needed support to families in unimaginable circumstances. Contact Shelly Brown, director of principal giving at the Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation, at 330-543-8900 or mbrown2@akronchildrens.org to make a contribution.