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There With Care Offers Families a Lifeline

The Bay Area is home to some of the best children’s hospitals in the country, attracting families from all over the world who are dealing with life-threatening illnesses. Many of these families are far from home and far from the support systems that they need to help manage the battle they are facing. That’s where There With Care comes in.

There With Care was founded in 2005 in Colorado but branched into the Bay Area in 2011. Its mission is to offer support to families during the most critical phases of a medical crisis.

“Because [the families] have a child who’s in the critical phase of a medical crisis, they’re very vulnerable, isolated, [in a] home away from home,” said Kathy Hansen Sweeney, the Executive Director of the Bay Area’s There With Care. “So, the fact that here we are checking in on them pretty regularly and then making deliveries to where they are just makes them feel heard and seen and grateful.”


For many of the families, it’s a lifeline.

“I think just that when a child is diagnosed with a critical illness, the wholeness of the family is threatened, and day to day life activities feel overwhelming,” said Hansen Sweeney. “So, we’re there to just help alleviate that burden.”

During the holidays, the organization worked extra hard to make things a little brighter for families.

“It’s providing that extra special care for families,” said Hansen Sweeney. “Holiday packages [and] transportation assistance means a lot many of these families don’t get to leave their hospital or home away from home to be at home.”

There With Care works with local social workers to identify families that need help. The agency’s main partners include Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco at Mission Bay.

Once a family is referred, a team reaches out to determine what would help the most. Whether its toiletry kits and cleaning supplies or fresh food and easy to heat meals, There With Care caters its help to the family’s needs.

Because many of the families are in “financial distress,” Hansen Sweeney says no one is turned away.

“We have to balance what we can do with our resources,” said Hansen Sweeney. “We don’t turn families away who are referred to us. But we do have to keep in mind how much we can provide with the resources we have.”

There With Care served more than 600 families in 2023, and Hansen Sweeny is proud to see the small nonprofit have such a huge impact.

“I just came in here because I was really touched by the mission and the impact. It’s almost like a small nonprofit with a big mission,” said Hansen Sweeny. “So, we do a lot with so little. Just the commitment of the board and the staff and our advisory council…a real, genuine, caring organization.”

*There With Care’s founder is Paula DuPre Pesmen, a former producer of three Harry Potter films. During her time on the movie sets, she met a lot of families through the Make-A-Wish program and realized just how isolated those families could become. It served as the inspiration for There With Care.

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