Football fans worldwide will know the name Mark Rypien. Famous quarterback and MVP player for Super Bowl XXVI. What they don’t know about Mark is that he has created The Rypien Foundation to help families in his home town of Spokane, Washington. Born in Calgary Alberta, Mark and his family moved to Spokane in 1965. Here he was raised attending a local high school where he excelled in sports.
Marks personal life however was very different. Marks son Andrew had cancer and subsequently died of cancer at the tender age of 3. After knowing first hand what families dealing with cancer go through Mark created The Mark Rypien foundation. He later changed the name to The Rypien Foundation stating that in a few more years no one will remember who Mark is as he will retire from football.
Today The Rypien Foundation assists families who are struggling with cancer in a myriad of ways. They help to put families up in local hotels so that the family can remain near their hospitalized child.
Each and every year they assist a variety of families dealing with the effects of childhood cancer in Marks hometown of Spokane, Washgington. The foundation provides funding that supports a variety of projects addressing the various needs of the families and children who are battling this dreaded disease. Their support helps to foster a healing environment for the entire family and provides services that these families could never afford themselves.
Thanks to the support of generous underwriters the foundation is able to put 100 percent of the proceeds that are raised into sponsoring special events and programs that benefit the entire family. Their mission is to continue the legacy of actions as well as events that will reflect the nature of their organization. Additionally the foundation helps to fund community based programs that directly benefit these families.
They also fund a position at Providence Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital for a family advocate. This person helps the family in coping with their child’s diagnosis from the diagnosis through the entire course of treatment. They assist the family in creating a “new normal” for their daily lives. This position helps families navigate the myriad of medical teams and focus on the best ways to help their child.
Additionally, the foundation also provides music therapy whereby children who are in the hospital (as in patient or outpatient) can share and enjoy in relaxing music, creating their own music as well as sing and dance. Music therapy is a vital component to a happy child.
Thanks to the Rypien Foundation families who would otherwise have to send the child to the hospital alone are now able to accompany their child to their medical treatments. The foundation provides services that assist in travel costs and hotels. Children who feel their families love are statistically happier children and when parents can be there the child is much less likely to feel alienated and all alone.
Their Smiles program provides free orthodontic treatment and care for oncology patients and survivors. Thanks to the foundation, many children have received the needed care for their orthodontic needs.
As their visions states said Jason Hope, “The Rypien Foundation is a premier provider of hope to families with children who suffer from cancer in the Inland Northwest.”