It’s full-on hockey season here in Minnesota, and while Thanksgiving week has past, that doesn’t mean we don’t continue to be thankful! Especially when we hear stories like that of Blair Anderson.
Innovative Office Solutions is the proud sponsor of the Charity of the Month program in partnership with the Minnesota Wild. The Program brings exposure to a different Minnesota charity each month throughout the NHL season. The Minnesota Wild Charity of the Month for December, 2015 is Blair’s Tree of Hope Foundation.
Blair’s Tree of Hope’s mission is to help the families of children who have been hospitalized with a life-threatening illness due to pediatric cancer, pediatric bone marrow transplant or pediatric blood disorder.
Blair Anderson was just a typical teenager at Hopkins High School in the winter of 2005. She loved to read swim, hang out with her friends and her dog, and especially loved to talk politics (she hoped to become the first female President!)
It was in February of that year, though, that Blair started experiencing clumsiness, was feeling overly tired and lost her appetite. For months, Ears, Nose and Throat specialists were confounded by her condition and the best guess was that she had a rare form of mono.
It wasn’t until the morning of June 22, that the Anderson’s got the news that would change their life forever. Blair was feeling worse than she ever had before and her dad took her to Methodist Hospital. After hours of tests, the family was told the shattering news: Blair had acute biphenotypic leukemia.
Blair, like so many other children afflicted with cancer, spent several months in the hospital receiving treatments that often make them feel even sicker. Their families are scared, stressed and have no time in their days to handle the daily routines that they are used to. Many of the basics are left undone as families spend weeks and months at a time in the hospital.
After beating the cancer on two separate occasions, Blair unfortunately lost her health battle and received her pink and orange angel wings on March 25, 2007. She left behind many wonderful memories with her friends and family—and an idea—an idea to help people.
Hospital personnel with Minneapolis Children’s and the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s make referrals to Blair’s Tree of Hope, a non-profit for families with hospitalized children. Items donated and provided to the families include: gas cards, Target and Walmart gift cards, grocery cards, house-cleaning services, family photos and monthly parking permits at hospital ramps.
Weekly donations include: snacks, toiletries, magazines, craft kits and lip balm. Greeting cards (birthday, holiday, etc.) and packets of puzzle books and playing cards.
One unique and popular event is a quarterly photo shoot at the U of MN Masonic Children’s Hospital. Affected families get the chance at having fun family photos taken by Blair’s Tree of Hope photographer and co-founder, Tom Anderson. Tom and Blair’s Tree of Hope board members and volunteers provide pizza and lots of props to make this a wonderful family event. They also host a quarterly sewing event where groups of 20+ people make fun pillow cases to give to all the kids who are spending time in the hospital. Other yearly events include a 5K run, a kickball tournament and a wine tasting event.
HOPE. Four simple letters put together to form one powerful idea—helping other people every day. It’s that message and attitude that makes Blair’s Tree of Hope the Charity of the Month for Innovative Office Solutions in partnership with the Minnesota Wild.