St. Christopher Fund Update
March 1, 2012
Article by Donna Kennedy, Ph.D, M.S.
The St. Christopher Truckers Development & Relief Fund (SCF) was started in late 2007 as a non-profit organization with a mission to assist professional truck drivers whose medical problems led to financial difficulty. The SCF is happy to report that, by mid-January, 2012, they have succeeded in their mission by helping over 470 drivers and their families with over $200,000! Medical problems for SCF beneficiaries vary but the top 5, in order, are cardiology, cancer, diabetes, pulmonary issues, and accidents/injury. The average age of applicants is 50 years old, which is quite alarming to have so many cardiology and cancer patients this young. However, 43% of applicants smoke or have a history of smoking so we aren’t as surprised to see so many with pulmonary issues.
Many of the cases that come to the SCF are heart-breaking and the applicants are in urgent need of assistance. For instance, there have been several cases of those on lung transplant lists who will die if they do not receive the transplant. There have been numerous cancer cases where the driver cannot work while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. There are also more severe cases, like a 34 year old with severe cardiac problems he will probably not recover from; and a 32 year old with testicular cancer that metastasized to his brain, liver and lungs, who will likely die, leaving behind a wife and young children.
The SCF tries its best to give help to those in need. They provide assistance in various ways ranging from direct payment of bills to help finding local resources. The top 5 ways funds have been allocated, in order, are for rent/mortgage, utilities, medical expenses, car/truck payments, and living expenses. Over 58% of the SCF applicants do not have insurance, so many are also given assistance with how to negotiate their medical bills and get set up on payment plans. The SCF is also able to find reasonably priced CPAPs, hearing aids, scooters, and other medical equipment that drivers may need to get well.
Drivers are some of the most generous people out there. The SCF knows this is true based on the outcome of two Band Together campaigns (2010 and 2011), sponsored by, and held at, TA/Petro Truck Stops. These campaigns together rose over $420,000 for the SCF, simply by drivers and employees purchasing commemorative wristbands for $1! The Band Together events have allowed the SCF to help more people, more times, and with more money. The SCF is thrilled that TA/Petro chose them as their charity to support. We all look forward to the next Band Together event in late summer or early fall and thank everyone in advance for their continued support of your fellow drivers.
Some other great and exciting news the SCF is happy to report on is their new scholarship program. Thanks to a large donation by NAIT, the SCF has opened up a $10,000 scholarship award for a former driver to go back to school. To be eligible, the applicant must have a medical condition that caused him/her to no longer be able to drive commercially, but that has the aptitude and desire to enroll in an accredited trade school, college or university.
It is the hope and goal of the SCF to find other avenues of assistance for the driving community, such as more scholarship programs, health education, and prevention of diseases commonly seen in the driver population. The SCF is constantly striving to further the organization. This can be seen in the choice of valuable board members, in making partnerships with great companies such as TA/Petro, OOIDA, Dave Nemo Entertainment and TruckStop Ministries, Inc. (who recently allowed the SCF to link in with their prayer request line), in working on grants for health promotion, education and research, and in its drive to keep overhead as low as possible. On the last point, many may be interested to know that the SCF employees only 2 part-time works and 1 part-time Independent Contractor, that none of these workers receive benefits, that the office is run out of a home (which has kept costs, such as rent and insurance, down), and that its board members, legal counsel, tax preparer, and website designer all donate their time. Overhead remains around 20%, though we are always working to get this closer to 10%.
The SCF is proud to be a valuable resource for drivers and their families during times of need. We look forward to another great year and hope the organization continues to grow in its impact on the driving community. Please remember us if you are looking for a worthy organization to make a contribution (all donations are tax deductible), if you need help, or know of another driver in need.
St. Christopher Fund contact information:
Donation line: 877-332-GIVE (4483)
Fax #: 865-851-8396
P.O. Box 30763 Knoxville, TN 37924