Family Lives On Foundation helps Phoenixville family

Photos courtesy Family Lives On Foundation Pictured at the Hearts for Mommy fundraiser are, from left, Beverly Abbonizio of Downingtown, Family Lives On executive director; Mary Beth Roe, QVC host and “Hearts for Mommy” honorary host; Nick Cacchione of Exton, owner of the Riverstone Café and cofounder of “Hearts for Mommy” and member of the Family Lives On board of directors; and Laura Munts of Downingtown, president of the Family Lives On board of directors. The event is held at Riverstone Café to honor Riverstone server Megan Bates. The event raised more than $25,000.

Mommy’s Light, a Uwchlan-based foundation that delivers tradition fulfillment services for children who have lost a mother, has changed and expanded into Family Lives On Foundation to offer support for children who have lost a mother or a father.

The foundation was started by Mary Murphy in 1997 who was diagnosed with cancer in 1996. She was inspired to start the foundation when realizing that her legacy needed to live on for her 10-year-old son and knowing many children could benefit from the same grieving process.

Since March 2013, the Family Lives On Foundation has modestly expanded the foundation to reach children who have lost either a mother or father or both across the United States, including Texas, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina and mainly the Delaware Valley and Chester County.

“When you have something that works that helps a grieving child, you have a responsibility to make it available to all grieving children,” said Laura Munts, friend of Murphy and president of the board of Family Lives On Foundation. “We’re so thrilled to finally make this leap. It’s a challenging because you move from an eligible population of 6,000, which is daunting, to an eligible population of two million.”

Family Lives On Foundation recently delivered its 1,000th tradition to the Card Family of Phoenixville. The Card Family was also the first family to receive a tradition after Max, 20, and Madison, 15, lost their mother in 2001.

Charlie Card, father of the recipients, said the full circle affect of receiving the first and 1,000th tradition was a little spooky.

Munts said that children grieve differently than adults, so they must be treated differently in these situations.

“Children don’t grieve 24 hours a day like adults do,” Munts said. “The surviving spouse doesn’t have to sit across the couch and say ‘Tell me how you feel.’ They’re going to be baking cookies or watching a movie next to them and conversation tends to happen when they are looking in the same direction, not when they’re staring at each other.”

The Card Family receives flowers to plant around mother’s day each year.

“It brings back the memories and they love remembering that kind of stuff,” Card said. “After (the organization) leaves and we sit down and eat dinner and have conversation with the kids talking about their mother. It just makes me feel wonderful and feel like she’s still around.”

Card said the traditions help his children remember their mother even with all the hustle and bustle of today.

“Sometimes when people are gone for a while you kind of do forget about them and it just brings back those good memories, so it definitely helps in the healing process,” Card said. “As soon as you get an email or call from (Family Lives On) it brings back that memory and puts a little something in your heart again.”

“The whole tradition process transcends socioeconomic, race, gender, religion, language and time,” Munts said. “It’s just something people relate to. I have been very blessed to be so involved.”

For information on Family Lives On Foundation, visit FamilyLivesOn.org.