The mission of Christ’s Starfish Foundation is to share the love of Jesus Christ through two areas of service in our community. We work with children confined to local children’s hospitals by providing assistance to them through the child life specialists. We also assist families of non-cancer patients who are experiencing financial hardships due to their child’s illness.
At Christ’s Starfish Foundation we are committed to serving our Lord by assisting these hurting children and their families. Our Board pays all our administrative expenses allowing 100% of all funds donated and raised to go directly to our work.
In January 2007, Carldon Lahey read an article in the Florida Times-Union about an 18 year old patient at Wolfson Children’s Hospital by the name of A. J. Donohue. The article told how A.J. organized a fundraising campaign to help Wolfson while battling a fatal illness. Using his web site, A.J . offered stickers with his logo for a $2.00 donation. Within six weeks, he had raised $50,000 in donations from around the world, meeting his goal two days before his death. Reading this article was a transformational moment. It was the first of many such moments that we at the foundation describe as “God Moments” . The Christ’s Starfish Foundation was established and our journey with Wolfson Children’s Hospital began.
Although originally not knowing the true purpose of the foundation we would be asked by oncology social worker Johnna Heavner at Wolfson to assist non cancer children and their families. As an oncology social worker she had access to two organizations providing assistance to cancer patients but her colleagues serving non cancer kiddos had very limited resources.
In November 2008, we were contacted by Billy Woods, a good friend and attorney. Billy’s son Riley had been at the Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL as a child. He had a desire to “give back” to the institution that had done so much for him years earlier. When Riley expressed a desire for us to partner with him, we took that as a call from our Lord and we obeyed. As a result, we began our journey to serve God by assisting the children and their families at Shands Hospital.
In May of 2009, Carldon had the opportunity to work as an escort for the golfers at the Players Championship Golf Tournament in Ponte Vedra, FL. He was randomly assigned to work with pro golfer Boo Weekley along with several other golfers for the week. As the week progressed, Carldon learned that Boo and his wife Karyn had two children born at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, FL. When Karyn said her and Boo would help if Christ’s Starfish wanted to work at Sacred Heart, this began our work in Pensacola. We at Christ’s Starfish are very grateful to our Lord for chance to work with the Weekley family to make a difference at Sacred Heart.
One of the highlights of our work has been spreading joy to all of the children who are confined to the hospital on Christmas Day by providing gift bags stuffed full of presents each year. In 2011, we expanded into Atlanta, GA by partnering with Egleston and Scottish Rite children’s hospitals. With dedicated leaders, many individual donations, and Pepsi as an amazingly generous partner, our first Christmas in Atlanta saw 140 children at Egleston receive presents and a great number at Scottish Rite. We have also expanded to Blair Batson’s Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital in Mississippi.
As we continue the journey that our Lord is leading us on to provide assistance to these hurting children, we need your prayers. We don’t know exactly where God is leading us, but we pray daily for the wisdom to be obedient to HIS call on our lives.
In 2016 we will begin our work at three of the children’s hospitals in Indiana.