Misinformation about Little Star Foundation
September 15, 2009
As a former resident of Aspen, I have been following with great interest the political battle over the Silver Lining Ranch/Little Star Foundation’s (LSF) property and was quite disturbed by the false information that was printed in a recent letter to the editor. Here are facts to correct the inaccuracies.
For much of its 20-year history, the foundation’s key leaders went without any salaries at all (in addition, Jaeger donated all of her tennis earnings). When compensation began to be paid, not one dollar came from a donation from anyone in Aspen. These salaries were underwritten by outside individuals, all of whom (one being Paul Newman) insisted that the foundation leaders receive salaries competitive with similar positions in this industry.
The only way Andrea accepted the program and salary contribution offers were if the earmarked salary money could be used by the individuals to help the children. For the past 30 years Andrea has given away all of her money to help children and others in need, and at great personal sacrifice. Andrea has a depleted savings account and no 401K. The foundation purposely ran fundraisers in other parts of the country in order to allow other charities in Aspen to receive as much support from Aspen as possible, even to the extent of handing over title charity events.
Another inaccuracy was off by over five times the amount of what the most successful foundation fundraiser raised.
Yet money is just one part of the sacrifice that has been made by those working at the foundation. Pediatric oncology is one of the most haunting fields in medicine. Many of the doctors, nurses and other specialists in the field have to switch away from providing actual treatment for periods of time or permanently because it is so difficult to endure emotionally.
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Andrea and her team have been providing long-term care and a better quality of life for children with cancer for 20 years. Maybe your child did not lose their leg, hair, motor-skill development, self-esteem, friends, childhood or life to cancer, but other people’s children have. Your child probably didn’t grow up in a hospital but the children Andrea and LSF help have.
So why are they selling the ranch? It’s quite simple. They simply can’t afford to be in Aspen anymore. In addition, they need to pay off loans, and they need funds to take care of the children. They should not be attacked for their efforts; they should be thanked. They have helped kids who are scared, throwing up, needing to be talked through nightmares (there is a special 800-number so kids can find a staff member at any time day or night), and daily have helped children and families who are forced to endure what cancer brings to a family.
If you do not know what LSF has done, be thankful: That means your child has not had to endure what thousands of other children have.