Northsider’s charity helps single mothers with cancer
When he was only 13-years-old, Chase Smith’s mother Kim Holzer passed away from cancer. Now, Smith has launched a charity to help single mothers facing the disease afford the costs of their treatments.
“My mom had tremendous support throughout her bout with cancer from so many people, including my dad and all my family and community,” Chase, who is a North Shore resident, told The Chronicle in an email, “but growing up and watching her at home and seeing that someone fighting cancer means so much more at home than just the in-patient hospital treatments that she went through, had really led me to want to find an area that I am able to make an impact in, as I can’t do much for people on the medical side.”
Smith launched the Orchid Endowment Fund in March of 2022, and the group has already raised around $7,500 for single mothers battling cancer. The fund has helped one woman — a single mother of two contending with breast cancer — and is seeking to soon do an- other round of giving.
The fund’s name was inspired by Holzer’s favorite flower, the orchid.
The effort is entirely volunteer driven. Smith works as a financial analyst with PPG Industries, and dedicates his time to the fund when away from his job.
“Really it’s been more of a side project, something I can do after work,” he said. “It can really be a good cause for the community.”
He told The Chronicle that it was important to him to have the fund be completely volunteer-based to ensure as much of the money raised as possible went towards helping single mothers.
The fund raises money by reaching out to companies, major athletes and other such people or organizations for donations. Smith said he’s been writing many letters to reach as many potential donors as he can, and is open to working with small businesses for donations.
As for giving to single mothers, the fund sets up a pool of money for the mother to draw from. Whenever their condition generates a medical expense, the mother can send an invoice to the fund and have it cover the cost.
Smith said while there were many charities out there funding cancer cure research, he felt there was a lack of direct financial support for people battling the disease. He hopes to make the fund into a sustainable organization which is able to help people during their entire course of treatment, though he views the help the Orchid Endowment Fund has already provided as a major win.
“If I give out one grant, is that successful or not?” Smith said. “I think it absolutely is. That’s one family that’s facing financial pressure that we’re helping to alleviate. So to me, one person is worth it.”
In the meanwhile, Smith is working to attract more attention to the fund, both for people who can provide donations or help to the fund, and to find more single mothers in need of assistance.
The fund can be contacted at orchidendowment.com, by email at orchidendowment@ gmail.com or by phone at (614) 325-1119.