About Rachel’s Helping Hands Cancer Foundation
Rachel’s Helping Hands Cancer Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization started by the Fox Family in memory of their daughter, Rachel Paster.
Rachel Paster’s love for others inspired us to help cancer families focus on what really matters – each other.
Rachel’s Helping Hands helps families facing medical costs associated with cancer in the Philadelphia Tri-state area. Through our grant program and volunteer network, we cover the costs of copayments associated with prescriptions, doctor visits, chemotherapy, & radiation treatments for those who need it most.
Our mission is to relieve families of the financial burden associated with cancer treatment, so they can focus on what matters.
Our vision is to help make healthcare more affordable and bring an end to cancer.
Rachel always had a heart for helping children. As a teenager she babysat, worked at summer camps, and helped out at a daycare. As an adult, she pursued a career in teaching, graduating from Penn State after completing an accelerated program for gifted teachers and falling in love with her future husband, Eric Paster.
Together, Eric and Rachel built a life. They became adoring parents after the birth of their son, Caleb. Rachel pursued her passion in teaching and was a beloved second grade teacher. She was very enthusiastic in the classroom–taking an individualized approach to helping each student live up to the potential she saw in them. She quickly built a reputation among her colleagues for being especially skilled at reaching the students having more difficulty in school.
In June of 2013, Rachel noticed a small lump in her left breast. Her doctor ordered an MRI and after receiving the results, she was told she didn’t need to worry. Her doctor decided, just in case, they would remove the lump with a minor surgery. After the surgery, she was again reassured it was likely a benign tumor. Eric will never forget the day Rachel called to tell him she’d just spoken to her doctor, and it was cancer.
Rachel’s care team quickly jumped into action, and her family and friends rallied around her to support her through what would be undoubtedly the hardest thing they’d ever faced. Rachel underwent a double mastectomy with lymph node removal, physical therapy to ward off lymphedema, and received chemotherapy treatment.
Despite the never-ending litany of oncology, neurosurgeon, and radiation appointments, Rachel continued to show up for her students with a smile on her face. She continued to make teaching a priority, always finding time to lend a helping hand to her students. Rachel taught right up until she could no longer physically make it to class, and even then, she still held on to her positive attitude.
Rachel passed in 2015, leaving her family with lasting memories of what a wonderful mother, daughter, friend, teacher, and sister she would always be. About a month before Rachel passed, her father, Murray Fox, called Eric with an idea. What if they started a foundation in Rachel’s name to support families going through what they were currently going through? There are many foundations raising much needed funding for cancer research, but what about supporting families currently battling cancer? Eric loved the idea–throughout her treatment journey, Rachel had frequently commented on how her experience made her realize how hard cancer must be financially on so many families. It was the perfect way to honor Rachel.
With the help of her family, friends, donors, and sponsors, Rachel continues to have an impact on her community through the Rachel’s Helping Hands Foundation. We provide financial support to families for cancer copayments, prescription bills, doctor visits, radiation treatments, and other medical costs related to cancer. We aim to enable cancer families to worry about one thing and one thing only–helping their loved one.
We hope our journey ends with a cure for cancer, but until then, our community is able to rely on financial relief from Rachel’s legacy.
Relieving Financial Burdens since 2015
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