There are few things more devastating to a family than a cancer diagnosis.
It’s only made tougher and harder to manage when the person diagnosed is a child — especially if those children live in single-parent households.
But now a Scottsdale, Ariz., based non-profit is helping these families with a new slate of services.
Singleton Moms, is a charity that has assisted single parents struggling with their own cancer diagnoses since 2006.
The nonprofit just recently added a new program called Singleton Peds. Through that program the non-profit provides financial assistance to single-head of household families. Services can range from helping pay off bills to providing basic school supplies or necessary toiletries.
Jody Farley, the founder and executive director of Singleton Moms, said the idea for the program sprouted from an experience she had as a child.
“One of my cousins who was around my age had leukemia,” Farley said. “Some of my earlier memories were my family coming together for my aunt and uncle and cousin and doing what they could to help out, and how difficult it was — even in a large family. They could’ve used even more support.”
Tracy Ayers, a single mother of nine kids, is one of the families currently receiving help from Singleton Moms. Her youngest, Willamena, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2015 when she was 15-months-old. Ayers husband, Robert, died unexpectedly only two months later.
“It’s been so much more helpful than I initially expected,” Ayers said. “It was nice to have someone else looking out for us.”
Willamena, nicknamed Willa, is now almost 3-years-old. Her cancer is in “maintenance mode” where physicians give ongoing treatment and therapy to try to keep the disease at bay.
Singleton Moms helped paid many of Ayers bills, including their phone and electricity.
Five families are currently in the Singleton Peds program, but it has funding for as many as 20. The program is currently available for people across Maricopa and Pinal counties in the state of Arizona, but Farley said Singleton Moms plans to continue expanding.
“We definitely have plans to put chapters in other metropolitans cities across the country,” Farley said. “While I know where I’d like to go first, we don’t know where we’ll go because it’ll be about how that community embraces us and what resources we can get quickly to get us up and running.”
For more about Singleton Moms, Singleton Peds and Tracy Ayers’s story, visit azcentral.com.