Michael Matters Foundation Helping Patients in Need

In 2012, Michael Schostok lost his battle with brain cancer at age 51, only two months before his 25th wedding anniversary. A successful attorney and devoted husband and father, Schostok left a legacy of compassion, and family and friends turned their tremendous loss into a powerful opportunity to help others.

The Michael Matters Foundation was born to both raise public awareness of the deadly disease—brain tumors remain one of the most complex and lethal cancers—and provide desperately needed financial assistance to others fighting their own health battle. In 2013, the Michael Matters Foundation launched a patient assistance grant program for brain tumor patients at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center. Today, the Michael Matters Foundation supports patients and their families at Kellogg Cancer Center, as well as patients at numerous other organizations throughout the Chicagoland area and around the country. The Foundation’s ongoing success is a testament to his memory and more importantly a vehicle that provides hope and help through Michael Matters Grants. To date, more than 180 patients and families in need have been helped through the Michael Matters Foundation’s efforts.

“We are really lucky to have such a great group of supporters,” said Schostok’s daughter and Foundation President Marisa Schostok Buckley. “We are so honored to have such dedicated donors, and it speaks volumes about who my father was. We also know that what we’re doing really fills a void. We give directly to patients in need and make a real difference in their lives.”

“Our motivation is really the patients we’re helping,” said Schostok Buckley, a practicing attorney and new mom who admits to having no prior fundraising experience. “We have the unique opportunity to talk directly to these patients; we see their photos and their handwritten thank-you notes. This feedback keeps us going.”

Every dollar the Foundation raises through annual events and outreach is distributed to patients as the Michael Matters Foundation is run entirely by a volunteer board. “Our board is really driven by the desire to ensure that brain cancer patients can go through their battle with dignity, a sense of hope and self-worth,” said Schostok Buckley. “We know that people can feel so helpless in their struggle with cancer, and so often financial strains from treatment or loss of their ability to work can create a huge ripple effect.”

This fact was not lost on Michael Schostok, who saw other patients not only fighting for their lives, but also confronting huge financial challenges. “He was always so generous in all aspects of his life, though he downplayed what he did and never called attention to himself. We’re achieving the same goals he had to help others,” added Schostok Buckley, who is grateful for an enduring relationship with NorthShore and the team who helped care for her father.

“NorthShore has been such a wonderful partner and friend of both our family and the Foundation,” said Schostok Buckley. “When we first started, their help was so important in establishing our grant program. It’s clear that NorthShore always wants the best for their patients.”

To learn more about how you can get involved, visit foundation.northshore.org/ways-to-give-community-partner-events.

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