Inspired by their corporate human health care (hhc) mission to give first thought to patients and families, employees of Eisai Inc. volunteer with the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation to make a difference in the Baltimore community.
Eisai Inc., the U.S.-based subsidiary of Japanese pharmaceutical company, Eisai Co., Ltd., has long believed in the principle that patients and their families come first and the best way to understand their needs and experiences is to socialize with patients to “breathe the same air.” This philosophy, called human health care (hhc), is something the company encourages all employees to practice in their daily work.
With this in mind, the company’s Baltimore-based employees sought out local opportunities to interact with patients. Led by Tammy Stickland, senior manager of procurement, Eisai connected with the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation and explored ways to support the Foundation’s work.
The Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides hospital and respite housing to critically ill children and their families. Having pioneered the concept of pediatric respite housing, the organization continues to be recognized as a national leader in offering these services to patients.
Founded in 1982, the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation operates two hospital housing facilities in Baltimore, MD, for children and families visiting Johns Hopkins Hospital. They also have three beach and two mountain respite facilities in Maryland, Delaware, and North Carolina, where families are offered an emotional and geographical retreat, free of charge.
“Their St. Casimir hospital housing apartments are located blocks from our Baltimore manufacturing facility, and they’re a valuable part of the local community,” Stickland said. “So the relationship seemed like a natural fit from the beginning.”
The Believe In Tomorrow House at St. Casimir is the only stand-alone hospital housing facility nationwide to serve the unique, long-term housing needs of pediatric bone marrow transplant patients and their families. Many children staying at the facility have lowered immune systems and are only able to venture outside when traveling to and from the hospital for treatment; therefore, the clean and comfortable environment that the organization offers is essential.
Eisai employees first began volunteering at St. Casimir in 2011.
“We help out however we can,” said Wayne Ramey, an Eisai employee who volunteers at the facility. “They usually have me doing odds and ends, things like maintenance.”
Other volunteers help by cleaning after families check out and sprucing up the outdoor patio and garden.
Groups of about 10 Eisai volunteers initially began assisting at the Believe In Tomorrow House at St. Casimir once a month; however, soon after they started, word spread within the company about the compelling work of the non-profit. Employees from other regional Eisai offices started volunteering at Believe In Tomorrow’s primary hospital housing facility, the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House at Johns Hopkins.
One of the unique features of the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House at Johns Hopkins is complimentary, homemade meals offered almost every night. In this communal environment, families in similarly stressful situations can lean on each other for support. Without help from volunteer groups, like Eisai, who cook and sometimes compete against each other in team building “Top Chef” contests for best meal, the Family Suppers program wouldn’t be possible.
After learning about the unique and vital services the organization provides to children and families in need, the Eisai USA Foundation, an independent non-profit affiliate of Eisai Inc., also began supporting the organization with funding.
When asked about support from Eisai – whether from its employees or from the Eisai USA Foundation – Believe In Tomorrow founder Brian Morrison couldn’t offer enough praise.
“The bottom line is keeping families together and helping them cope with a serious illness. Without support from corporate members of our community, our scope would be much, much smaller. Whether it’s providing support for a new facility, sponsoring our annual Port-to-Fort 6k Race, or simply planting flowers in a window sill,” he said, “we’re truly lucky to have such great supporters like Eisai.”