(Reprinted from Media Release prodcude by Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation)
Every Thursday, 86-year-old Orland Park resident George Reddel volunteers his time by labeling and processing toys at the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation (POTCF). The not-for-profit Foundation provides comfort and distraction from painful procedures to children and teens diagnosed with cancer by providing a toy or gift card in 45 hospitals nationwide.
George is usually joined in his volunteer efforts by eight to ten clients of Elim Christian Services, an organization whose mission is to equip children and adults who are battling disabilities to achieve their highest potential. Although more than 30 people typically volunteer their time and talents each and every week at the Treasure Chest Foundation, few if any are either as elderly—or as enthusiastic—as George. Foundation CEO and Founder Colleen Kisel both appreciates and is continually amazed by the significant contributions made by her oldest volunteer.
“It is not unusual to look out our window on Thursday mornings and watch George unloading his car with donated boxes he was able to muster up from area businesses,” says a grateful Colleen. “We are fortunate to have George in our facility working side by side with the adults from Elim Christian Services. There are no rocking chairs in George Reddel’s life. He is a true unsung hero.”
George himself was able to shed a little light on what makes this energetic octogenarian tick. “I enjoy helping out,” he says, matter of factly. “It is good to get up and get out and help. If you don’t keep moving forward, you fall backward.” Joey Rusin (age 38), a client of Elim Christian Services, chimed in by adding, “George is nice, he is kind, he is helpful and he is my friend.”
Achieving one’s highest potential and helping those less fortunate would be lofty goals for someone of any age. At 86 years young, the fact that George Reddel is doing just that is a testament to his positive outlook and impressive stamina. And of course the ultimate beneficiaries of his kindness and compassion are the 8,600 children and teens battling cancer nationwide who are able to select a toy from a Treasure Chest after every painful treatment they endure.
The POTCF is a unique organization whose services impact thousands of young cancer patients each month. Nowhere else in the nation does such a program exist. Colleen Kisel founded the organization in 1996 after her then seven-year-old son Martin had been diagnosed with leukemia in 1993. She discovered that giving her son a toy after each procedure provided a calming distraction from his pain, noting that when children are diagnosed with cancer their world soon becomes filled with doctors, nurses, chemotherapy drugs, surgeries and seemingly endless painful procedures. Martin celebrated his 20th anniversary of remission from the disease earlier this year.
If you would like further information about the Treasure Chest Foundation, please contact Colleen Kisel at 708-687-TOYS (8697) or visit the Foundation’s web site at www.treasurechest.org