Northwestern Mutual honors kid’s cancer network - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Northwestern Mutual honors kid’s cancer network

July 8th, 2019 SanTan Sun News
Northwestern Mutual honors kid’s cancer network


Managing Editor

More children and families impacted by cancer will get support and resources to build brighter futures thanks to a $50,000 grant Northwestern Mutual has awarded to Children’s Cancer Network.

The Arizona office of Northwestern Mutual, a financial planning company, was chosen as a recipient of Northwestern Mutual Foundation’s 2019 Childhood Cancer Impact Awards for its work helping Children’s Cancer Network.

Joe Morris, managing director for Northwestern Mutual – Gilbert, presented the $50,000 grant to Patti Luttrell, executive director of Children’s Cancer Network, on June 20 at the cancer network’s office on West Chandler Boulevard.

Morris is also on the board of directors for Children’s Cancer Network, a nonprofit organization that provides gas and food cards, as well as other practical items, along with holding social events and offering many other services to families affected by cancer.

The grant will allow Children’s Cancer Network to provide more gas and grocery store gift cards to families who have a child who has cancer, as well as give more admissions bags with journals, teddy bears, water bottles, resource lists and other niceties to families with a newly diagnosed member, Luttrell said.

The money also will help support a scholarship program, where those who have survived cancer, as well as their siblings, get funding for tuition, books, room and board to colleges, universities and trade schools, she added. Scholarships range from $500 to $12,050.

“We feel so honored, so honored to be partnering with such an amazing organization and to be recognized in this manner and just to feel, to realize the impact that that can make locally,” Luttrell said, adding:

“The support and passion comes from the top down, from an organization from the very top down to every level that’s involved. What a difference it will make to our families. These families go through so much within their journey.”

Luttrell and her family started Children’s Cancer Network in 2004. She and her husband, Brett, have two adult children, Jenny, and Jeff. A graduate of the Art Institute of Phoenix, Jeff is a multi-time cancer survivor.

When he was 12, he needed a bone marrow transplant after fighting cancer for several years.

When Jeff was in the hospital at the time, a little girl in the room next to him died due to her cancer.

The girl’s family did not have any money to put gas in their car to drive home after her passing. Jenny, Jeff’s sister, who was 15 at the time said it was not fair and that they would make a difference. She suggested that her family organize a fundraising fashion show where childhood cancer survivors could take the spotlight as models.

The success of the fashion show prompted the Luttrells to start Children’s Cancer Network.

Morris said while his family has not been immediately impacted by childhood cancer, he had friends Patti knows well who were impacted by the disease years ago.

The Northwestern Mutual office Morris heads, as well as other Northwestern Mutual offices in the Valley, have helped Children’s Cancer Network in many ways.

It has sponsored Run to Fight Children’s Cancer, bought back-to-school items for families struck by cancer, volunteered at the organization’s lunch and fashion show and assembled goodie bags for cancer survivors reentering school and their siblings.

The Gilbert Northwestern Mutual office also hosted a Backyard Bash fundraising event for families and children the Children’s Cancer Network serves. Employees of Northwestern Mutual locally have even cleaned out Children’s Cancer Network’s warehouse.

Morris is grateful the Arizona office of Northwestern Mutual was honored but even more thankful to help Children’s Cancer Network.

“What a cool thing and being new to the board, it was just pretty cool that I was able to help deliver this check for $50,000,” he said. “I get to see firsthand how it works. What a cool opportunity when I learned about CCN (Children’s Cancer Network) because they were based in Chandler. At the time my office was in Chandler. It’s more of a passion of giving back.”

Northwestern Mutual launched its Childhood Cancer Program in 2012 with the goal of finding cures and offering support to families and patients, as well as those struggling with the long-term impacts of treatment.

The program has given more than $20 million to the cause, with the help of its employees and financial advisors around the country, and that has paid for more than 240,000 hours of research.

Northwestern Mutual’s Childhood Cancer Program also leverages nonprofit partners including Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Beads of Courage to offer patient, parent and sibling services to help families affected by cancer live their lives to the fullest.

The Arizona office of Northwestern Mutual won the award of $50,000 that it gave to Children’s Cancer Network after being chosen out of other Northwestern Mutual offices in the western region. It submitted a video to show the work it has done to support families affected by cancer in order to be considered for the honor.

“We’re just so thankful to Northwestern Mutual,” Luttrell said. “They take every opportunity to make a difference.”

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