LIVING ON: The Izzy Family Room is dedicated to the memory of Isabelle Marie Wohlrab, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 rhabdomyosarcoma at age 1 and died at age 3.
COURTESY AL WEEMS PHOTOGRAPHER
MAKING ROOM: Guests talk at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Izzy Family Room on Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s fifth floor in April. The Izzy Foundation raised $190,000 to fund the design and renovations to the new family room.
When the death of a child through disease serves as the impetus for forming a nonprofit, it can propel lasting, constructive connections between a hospital and the charity the organization represents.
That was the case for both the Izzy Foundation and Gabrielle Dinsmore Heart & Hope Fund, two nonprofits that have established working relationships with Hasbro Children’s Hospital within the Lifespan hospital system. It is also the case for a handful of similar nonprofits and foundations the hospital works with, said Michele Brannigan, major gifts officer at Hasbro.
“These family foundations [and nonprofits] can sometimes fill a need that we have trouble filling by some other means,” Brannigan said. “They become much more than a donor. They’re sharing the mission of your organization and it becomes a very important relationship.”
Drs. Tina and Kyle Wohlrab of Providence are the parents of the late Isabelle “Izzy” Marie Wohlrab, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer, at age 1, and died two years later in 2012. They founded the Izzy Foundation in 2011, a few months before Izzy died, and decided to keep it going to perpetuate their daughter’s memory and try and help other children and families suffering a similar fate. (Both parents are doctors at Women & Infant’s Hospital in the Care New England health system.)
Similarly, Louise and Jeff Dinsmore of Coventry are the parents of the late Gabrielle Dinsmore, who suffered from a congenital heart defect, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an extreme thickening of the heart-wall muscle, and died in 2010 just short of her third birthday. The parents founded the Heart and Hope Fund in 2011.
This past April, Hasbro opened The Izzy Family Room on the fifth floor, a place where the families of a sick child can go to rest, eat, relax, wait between visits and meet other families undergoing some of the same challenges, said Tina Wohlrab. The Izzy Foundation raised $190,000 to fund the design and renovations to the new family room, and Hasbro received additional support from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, she said.