On October 25, 1995, Henry Strongin Goldberg was born. Two weeks later, he was diagnosed with Fanconi anemia, a disease that threatened to take his life, and challenged us to live well despite it.
Henry embraced each opportunity for living completely and reminded the rest of us to do so. His sparkly eyes, mischievous grin and infectious smile were a call to action to smile back, laugh along and dance with him. His ear-to-ear smile and joyous laughter were far more noticeable than his many surgical scars and low-platelet related bruises. He suffered plenty of setbacks and spent more nights in the hospital fighting against whatever Fanconi anemia would throw his way, but just when it looked like the disease was too tough of an opponent, Henry would rise up and get back to the life he chose to lead. He had ice cream for dinner and transitioned from the hospital to running a lemonade stand in a matter of minutes.
On December 11, 2002, the unimaginable happened. Henry died. While we struggle to cope with Henry’s premature death, he is alive and well in our hearts and minds, and every day we strive to be true to the lessons he taught us about the importance of family, friends, love, courage and laughter.
Henry was the master of living well and laughing hard. To honor his life and share his magical way of making each day matter, we founded Hope for Henry. Recognizing the restorative effect of laughter and learning, smiles and hope to quality of life and determination to get better for Henry and thousands of children like him, Hope for Henry fills their recovery time with fun and entertainment.
Henry’s courage and bravery were a source of inspiration for the many nurses, doctors, friends and family who interacted with him– and he has saved many lives through his participation in groundbreaking research.
Henry is the inspiration behind the Hope for Henry Foundation, a nonprofit that Laurie and Allen founded in 2003 on what would have been Henry’s eighth birthday. Each year, Hope for Henry brightens the days and the spirits of thousands of kids like Henry whose illnesses force painful separations from their families, friends, school and other activities they love.
Hope for Henry hosts fabulous birthday celebrations, superhero parties, Halloween parties and summer carnivals to ensure that kids undergoing treatment for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses do not miss out on the most wonders of childhood.
Hope for Henry also gives these kids portable DVD players, iPods, digital cameras and portable gaming systems to provide entertaining distractions from painful procedures and feelings of fear and isolation that are part of the process of getting better.