The Cerna Foundation seed was planted rather unceremoniously at the office.
Marc Friedman and Nick Payzant are business partners and friends. Nick started Cerna Home Care, an in-home care company in 2008. Marc joined shortly after.
Home care is not a babysitting service. It is a caring for life service – when often, life is at its most fragile and uncertain. Some care recipients are severely ill, injured or dying – unable to care for themselves. And some, along with their families, are overwhelmed by medical decisions, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and the complexity of the medical system
SOWING THE SEED
These cases – these people in need, have always weighed heavily on the minds and hearts of Marc and Nick. At the end of an especially difficult week in 2013 – Marc and Nick knew they needed to find a way to help. That way was The Cerna Foundation.
Marc and Nick got to work forming The Cerna Foundation a Non-Profit 501(c)(3), with a mission to take money out of the equation when caring for people in need. Marc Friedman and Nick Payzant are foundation Co-Chairs.
GRASS ROOTS EFFORT
The foundation’s first beneficiary was Maise; she was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. Funds were raised by reaching out to Maise’s friends, and friends of Marc and Nick’s through countless phone calls, emails, and texts.
It was exhausting but exhilarating to be giving the help that only weeks before Marc and Nick were at a loss to provide. As a result, The Cerna Foundation was able to raise funds to assist with case management, health care, financial support, equipment and supplies, transportation, physician support, and end of life counseling for Maise and her family.
TENDING TO BENEFICIARIES
The Cerna Foundation helps to coordinate care, allowing family members to be the loving husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, or father they need to be for their loved ones. Our role is to aid in ensuring steps are taken for the greatest recovery possible. The Cerna Foundation strives to see patients and their families have the best quality of life. The right physicians, specialists, therapists, nutritionists, medical equipment, medical supplies, and transportation are arranged, and costs minimized or removed altogether! The Cerna Foundation has helped a wide range of patients battling traumatic brain injury, stroke, Alzheimer’s, ALS, cancer and other neurological related diseases, impairments, or injuries. Families have come to depend on The Cerna Foundation to help provide for essential needs to give their loved ones every opportunity to recover
FROM A SEED TO A SPROUT
Over the past 7 years, the foundation has had some growth. At 1,218 donors and nearly $500k raised, there is so much more growing to do. However, that does not diminish the work we have done. For example:
Marc’s best friend Tom was diagnosed with ALS; he died a few short months after. The Cerna Foundation was incredibly involved in helping him every day the last few months of his life. Although it was difficult to know the outcome would not change, the foundation supported him in all aspects with living arrangements, care giver support and health support. Marc took comfort in the ability to help. However, it was exceedingly difficult when he passed.
Kyle suffered a traumatic brain injury when his head was run over by a truck in November 2019. COVID-19 restricted Kyle’s family from hospital visitation. The Cerna Foundation and Aptiva Care Management worked on coordinating and helping to fund the staggering medical costs associated with his care and the move home. Best of all, Kyle’s doctors were/are astounded by the progress he made at home because of his family’s constant presence and stimulation.
Securing donations is a constant job. The task of raising money every single day is tireless and daunting.
The Foundation is challenged by real people who need money every single day to fund the crisis they are enduring – as they, and we, scramble to raise that money. The Cerna Foundation takes it on not only fiscally, but emotionally because we feel responsible for the families we are helping. This dependence is not taken lightly.
Marc Friedman shared, “I have been surprised over the years with some of the people who have been generous and donated. But I have also been surprised but those who could have been but were not.”
The Cerna Foundation has cultivated, a small, but passionate community of partners, donors, and families. To date, it has been achieved by word of mouth and referrals.
Families share the good work The Cerna Foundation has done. Donors are friends – and friends of friends. Industry partners have worked with Cerna Home Care offering their help when asked. This year, The Cerna Foundation is on the move towards a farther-reaching network.
The Cerna Foundation must reach more people for us to reach our financial goals. Ironically, we are in the same position as our beneficiary families as we scramble to procure the money they need. Sadly, the foundation must turn some people away because of this. The Cerna Foundation’s weekly and monthly donation memberships are key to becoming, and remaining, evergreen. It is not the amount of the donation that will impact us the greatest, rather the volume of members.
Imagine 20,000 Cerna Foundation members donating only $10 (or more) per month!
Will you be one of 20,000 beautiful blooms, providing hope to families in crisis?