Family Establishes Grant to Help
Brain Cancer Patients
Michael and Mary Schostok
Even while in treatment at NorthShore Evanston Hospital Kellogg Cancer Center for an inoperable brain tumor, 50-year-old Michael Schostok, a successful trial attorney, husband and father to three children, was saddened when he learned of other patients who were not only fighting for their lives, but also struggling with financial burdens.
One patient lost her job and didn’t have money for transportation costs to get to treatment. Another patient couldn’t pay for medications not covered by insurance. Still another struggled with child care costs. “When we’d be driving home from treatment, he talked about how blessed we were because we didn’t have to worry about those issues,” said Mary Schostok, his wife, an appellate court judge who met her husband when they were in law school. “He saw the unmet needs of others even when he was so sick.”
Just two months short of their 25th wedding anniversary and 15 months after being diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor, Michael passed away in July of 2012 at the age of 51.
His family and friends knew exactly what they wanted to do to honor Michael and created The Michael Matters Foundation. Their goal was twofold: to help other patients battling brain tumors maintain their quality of life during treatments by providing financial help for non-medical-related expenses, as well as to increase public awareness of the rare disease. “Michael witnessed the day-to-day financial struggles of others with brain cancer, and he wanted to help,” said Mary Schostok. “By establishing The Michael Matters Grants we’re making his wish a reality. He would be so proud, and that warms my heart.”
Last October, The Foundation presented NorthShore with a check for $25,000 to establish The Michael Matters Grant. Funds were raised from a 5K walk that was held earlier in May to help end brain cancer. The Foundation recently held a fundraiser called “New Year, Same Wish,” which was held on January 31 at Viper Alley in Lincolnshire. Proceeds from that event will further support Kellogg Cancer Center patients who are being treated for brain tumors by providing direct financial assistance for critical needs such as child care, transportation to and from medical appointments, prescription medication that is not covered by health insurance, and home care.
The founder of The Michael Matters Foundation, TJ Saye, a friend and co-worker of Michael Schostok’s, said many patients lose their jobs while undergoing treatment and are burdened by both medical and non-medical-related expenses. “We’d like to provide some level of relief for those suffering—one less worry during an incredibly difficult time.”
“We are so honored to partner with The Michael Matters Foundation,” said Tyler Bauer, Assistant Vice President of the Medical Group at NorthShore. “Their generous donation provides NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center patients and their families with financial support for essential non-medical-expenses, easing the heavy burden of brain cancer treatment. Patients receiving the support are incredibly thankful. It truly makes a difference in their lives.”
Daughter Marisa Schostok said the family has high praise for Kellogg Cancer Center at NorthShore Evanston Hospital. “From the first day when we were in the emergency room and then the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), everyone was terrific, from the front desk to the nurses to his doctors.” Marisa said she was particularly impressed when physicians, who offered a treatment plan but a grim prognosis for any recovery, encouraged the family to get second opinions and “explore our other options.”
“We did that,” said Mary Schostok, “and found out NorthShore was doing exactly what the other healthcare organizations were recommending on his case. NorthShore doctors had confidence in their treatment plans, and were right.”
For more information about NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center or ways to support NorthShore, please call Murray Ancell, Executive Director, at 224.364.7200 or visit us. Learn more about The Michael Matters Foundation.