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Families dealing with cancer diagnosis have a lot on their plate, and sometimes keeping up with regular bills is just one stress too many. To help Racine County families living with a cancer diagnosis keep up with non-medical expenses like housing, utilities, gas and groceries, there is The Koss Family Foundation.

Becky Koss and friends Joe Colletto and Christine Flores started the foundation because Becky and her husband, Steve, were in a similar position as the families they want to help after Steve was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Some 900 kind friends and strangers gave generously last summer at a benefit Steve’s family hosted in Union Grove.

“It was tough going for a while,” Steve remembered. “But all those people really helped, and now we want to help people.”

Click here to hear from the Koss’ directly about the foundation.

Becky was inspired to do something to give back and pay forward at the same time, to help other families the way the Koss’ were helped, and she asked Joe and Christine to come along for the ride.

Here’s how the foundation’s program will work:

  • Families must live in Racine County
  • Cancer diagnosis has to be at stage II or higher, the patient has to be in hospice or have recently passed away
  • Families have to sign a HIPPA waiver so the doctor can confirm the diagnosis
  • Bills from accepted families will be paid directly to the party that issued them
  • Groceries and gas will be provided through gift cards from area stores

The goal during this first year of operation is to provide up to $1,000 in support for five families who live in Racine County. The group has plans in place to help them reach that goal, including partnering July 15 with Salmon Unlimited at Salmon-A-Rama where the foundation will get $2 of every ticket sold.

“We have other plans, too, but we need to finish getting off the ground first,” Joe said.

The Koss Family Foundation earlier this month was declared an official 501(c)(3), but the ability to accept and process donations is still a work-in-progress. There is a Facebook page, and a website is coming soon. Donations can be mailed to: The Koss Family Foundation, P.O. Box 080991, Racine, WI, 53408.

Steve is grateful for the support from family, friends and the people who have already heard about the foundation. His cancer is considered stable, which means his tumors are still present, but they aren’t growing. Steve’s oncologists took him off chemotherapy six weeks ago for three months, and he goes in for a scan in early June to make sure he’s holding steady.