One of the main goals of the Donna M. Crandall Foundation is to provide a resource for patients to turn to in times
of strife. As our country confronts one of its most challenging economical circumstances in history, the financial assistance the DMC Foundation provides for CF patients and families is more critical than ever.
“Unfortunately, the requests in the past couple of years have increased as a result of the present economic situation and a system that fails to consider the complexity of living with a chronic, lifethreatening illness,” said John Nash,
LMSW, medical social worker at Albany Medical Center. “If not for the support of the DMC Foundation, many CF patients would have to go without, and their suffering would increase significantly.”
The Foundation has never had to decline the request of someone in need.
The predicaments some CF families face are heart-wrenching. Over the past year, $51,000 was allocated in an effort to help patients with various financial challenges. For example, a family of four, including a child who has CF, was able to secure just $200 for one month’s emergency assistance. The DMC Foundation stepped in to help with additional funds for food and other necessities. Similarly, a mother of a 14-month-old CF baby had a lapsed insurance policy and was reluctant to bring the child for a necessary clinic appointment because she didn’t have money to pay the bill. The Foundation sent a check to Albany Medical Center for the doctor visit and routine lab tests.
Other expenses the Foundation paid for included eradicating deadly mold from a patient’s basement; making up
delinquent utility bills for overwhelmed parents of a newly diagnosed baby, and covering the cost of summer classes for a college student who needed to make up credits lost during the school year due to illness.
In addition to financial assistance for individuals, $22,000 was spent on the gift bag program, the Foundation’s
trademark. Each CF patient admitted to Albany Medical Center receives a special canvas bag filled with items specially
selected to help make a hospital stay more bearable. Typical contents include an IPOD, portable DVD player, DVDs,
hand-held games, best-selling books, popular magazines, long-distance phone cards, gas and grocery store gift cards,
toiletries and snacks.
“I wish people could see the faces of CF patients when they receive a goodie bag,” said Libby Andrus, RN and assistant
nurse manager on Albany Medical Center’s E-5 Floor, where adult CF patients are treated. “Their faces light up like it’s Christmas.”
“Some CF patients are routinely admitted to the hospital, spending weeks at a time, several times a year, with us,” Marianne Patnode, RN and E-5 nurse manager explained. “Admissions can become customary to friends and family, so after a while the flowers and cards stop coming and visitors dwindle. But no matter how many times they are in the hospital, the Donna Crandall Foundation never forgets.”
To date, the Foundation has assembled a total of 835 bags for pediatric and adult patients.
In addition to the gift bags, Libby noted that patients continue to enjoy the patient lounge on E-5, refurbished by the
Foundation five years ago, as well as two laptops purchased for in-patient use.
“Patients really appreciate the lounge  and the opportunity to get out of their rooms,” said Libby. “Computer access
while in the hospital means so much, too, so patients can keep in touch with friends and family.”
Other in-hospital support includes therapeutic massage (for those who wish), cafeteria debit cards, parking garage passes, and telephone/TV access vouchers, all of which cost the Foundation $12,600.
For out-of-town patients receiving treatment at Albany Medical Center, the DMC Foundation is pleased to pay for
their families to stay at the new Hilton Garden Inn, located across the street from the hospital. According to a thank-you letter “getting some much needed sleep in shifts, showering and just getting away from the hospital for a short period…really made a difference” for parents providing support for their daughter while she was hospitalized.

Posted on:  November 18, 2009