Tyler Robinson Foundation (TRF), the nonprofit founded by GRAMMY Award-winning band Imagine Dragons dedicated to supporting young people battling pediatric cancer, honors Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with its eighth-annual Rise Up Gala on Sept. 23 in Las Vegas. Here, Executive Director Kim Gradisher discusses how TRF was founded nine years ago, its goals for the remainder of 2022 and ways readers can commemorate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
What is the mission of the Tyler Robinson Foundation? The mission of the Tyler Robinson Foundation (TRF) is to strengthen families financially and emotionally as they cope with the tragedy of a pediatric cancer diagnosis by offsetting out-of-pocket life expenses.
What prompted the start of the nonprofit? TRF was started by Imagine Dragons and Tyler Robinson’s family over nine years ago. Tyler was a fan and friend of the band. The band followed Tyler throughout his cancer journey, and when Tyler’s cancer spread and he sadly passed away, Imagine Dragons and the Robinson family got together to form TRF.
What is the greatest reward in being involved with the nonprofit? The greatest award for myself and others involved with the foundation is the difference we get to make in the lives of these children and their families. We are here to alleviate the financial burden that a cancer diagnosis causes so the families can focus on what matters most – their child.
What is the biggest challenge the nonprofit faces? How has the pandemic affected the needs of TRF? Like all nonprofits, we faced the effects of the pandemic. Our families faced the same hardships as everyone else, but also needed to face the pandemic while having an immuno-compromised child. Their need was even greater than it was before and out of extreme caution, our biggest fundraiser of the year was postponed. We leaned on our supporters and rallied behind our families. Despite the hard times, we were still able to issue over $1 million in grants in 2020. We are still getting back on our feet, but we have stayed strong and are continuing to grow and serve more families.
What are your goals for the remainder of 2022? Our goals for the rest of the year are to bring on even more families into the program. We are currently partnered with 58 hospitals across the globe and are growing more each day. Sadly, one in every 285 children are faced with a pediatric cancer diagnosis and there are many families who need our help. We have helped over 2,500 families and plan to serve hundreds more this year via our financial relief program, our emotional support program and our emergency fund program (providing gas and groceries to pediatric cancer families).
How can readers help? Readers can help by donating, volunteering or writing to a child in the hospital. They can visit TRF.org to learn more.
Are there certain events or fundraisers to partake in during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? We have several initiatives planned for September. You can learn more here at TRF.org/CCAM and a few of the initiatives are listed below:
Eighth Annual Rise Up Gala
TRF will host the eighth-annual Rise Up Gala Friday, Sept. 23, at Resorts World Las Vegas. The one-night-only experience will feature an exclusive acoustic performance by Imagine Dragons, with actor and comedian Joel McHale once again serving as host. For those who are unable to attend TRF’s annual Rise Up Gala, stay tuned for an exclusive livestream experience to be announced soon.
Kendra Scott Fundraiser
Kendra Scott will host a shopping event to support TRF Saturday, Sept. 17, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Kendra Scott Summerlin in Las Vegas. Shop online Saturday, Sept. 17, and Sunday, Sept. 18, using the code “GIVEBACK-CNJJQ” at checkout.
Travel for TRF
For those wishing to scratch their travel bug itch, while helping out TRF at the same time, book hotel, airfare, rental car and vacation packages through Charity Pro Travel. Charity Pro Travel is donating 50 percent of the commission for trips booked through our link to TRF. Book directly through the link at charityprotravel.com/trf or select “TRF” in the drop-down menu when booking.