Art for Charlie Foundation


What we do

The missions of the Foundation are to promote the availability of pediatric palliative care,
to help pediatric patients in need, and to support bereaved parents.

Pediatric Palliative Care     Advocacy     Bereavement Support         Grants         Memories through Art

Pediatric Palliative Care

HospiceThe special considerations of palliative and hospice care for dying children are unique.  The need for such care is not rare. In the US alone more than 50,000 children become terminally ill every year, whether from disease or congenital condition.

Yet many hospitals lack the specially trained staff that are needed, and this is a gap that the Foundation seeks to fill.


Donation to SparrowIn 2013 the Foundation made a grant of $20,000 to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing to facilitate their pediatric hospice program. This funded a pilot program which we hope will eventually be the precursor to a full pediatric hospice facility.

Hospice of MichiganThe Foundation gave $10,000 to Hospice of Michigan's Pediatric Early Care program to start a "Quality of Life" fund for east Michigan, an area that, in addition to East Lansing, includes the population centers of Detroit, Ann Arbor, Port Huron and Saginaw.  Their Pediatric Early Care program fills the gaps of many hospital based programs and provides much needed home care as well as support for bereaved families. The fund, designed to help families in need, matches a similar fund already established in the west of the state.

Bereavement Support
retreatThe Foundation recognizes that loss of a child can have a profound consequence, changing the dynamics of family life, and that grief is not finite or "curable" but an ongoing condition. We recognize the economic consequences of a diagnosis of a life limiting condition and that this can result in a downward spiral for the family following the child's death. We try to help by organizing support groups, encouraging the formation of such groups, providing individual grants in cases of financial need, and using art to preserve memories.

Support Groups
Locally our workshop/lectures provide an opportunity for parents who have lost children to meet others informally, listen to talks, and share thoughts and experiences. These are intended both as a supplement to conventional bereavement support groups and also as an alternative for those who do not want the social commitment of a more formal group. We present these workshops through a coalition of local child-focused charities. For more information, see our page on Grief.

Advocacy and conferences
An important role of our Foundation is in promoting the cause of pediatric hospice across the state of Michigan. This involves ensuring that caregivers, medical providers and families are fully aware of the potential of specialized pediatric hospice care in improving and extending quality of life and of the resources available within the state and nationally. We encourage the advance of the availability of such care in remoter and less densely populated areas and advocate for broadening the coverage for pediatric cases under Medicaid and conventional insurance policies.
To this end we held the first statewide conference for providers, caregivers, representatives from the insurance industry and state government, as well as concerned families and charities in November, 2014. The first result is the formation of an advocacy group representing providers and caregivers to lobby the state and the insurance industry.
The next conference is planned for the fall of 2015.  See "Conference" for more detail.
To download the report of the 2014 conference, click here.

Individual Grants:
As funds permit, the Foundation awards grants to individual families suffering bereavement from the loss of  a child or coping with the diagnosis of a child's life limiting condition.

Typically the program caters for needs that fall outside hospice programs. An individual grant may be given to help to mitigate specific hardship, to preserve cherished memories, or simply to provide respite from the pressure of grief.

Families seeking individual grants should download our Application Form to submit online or by mail.

April           Meghan    Bereavement Support             Mykia

Preserving Memories:
Children's pictures are often memories to be preserved. Sometimes they have a story to them, and publishing the picture and story helps to spread the message about the need for hospice care.
We select children's pictures that can be printed on canvas frame for exhibition, sending a duplicate to the family. The service provides a memory for the family but more importantly enables the moving and inspiring stories of children with limiting illness to be told to the world
 It may be a drawing on a scrap of paper or a crayoned picture on a placemat, but each is the unique expression of a young individual, an insight into a child's view of reality. For parents, a child's pictures are often memories to treasure.
Children with life limiting illness can demonstrate in art feelings they might never be able to express in words. Publishing the pictures and their stories can bring comfort to their families. To request to have a favorite picture published on canvas or board with your child's story, please email memories@artforcharlie.org

Pirate5-year old Charlie
Charlie was diagnosed with the brain stem tumor DIPG shortly before his third birthday. Undaunted, he drew pictures of pirates, dinosaurs and zombies with gusto and unquenchable humor.

He drew this self-portrait of himself as a pirate a few months before his death

And pictures can be naughty too!

UnicornCharlie drew this picture only days before he died on December 5, 2013. He had been fighting with his sister Esther over a toy plastic unicorn.

Later that day, he drew the pooping unicorn. He told his Mom that it was for his sister's birthday which was some months later in the following year. He explained that it would make her laugh.

And Esther did laugh later -- through her tears.