Within seconds of her daughter's terminal cancer
diagnosis, Patricia Fragen's physical and emotional exhaustion set
During Melissa's two-year bone cancer battle, her mother
was able to pull herself together enough to take her to the doctor
and to sit quietly next to her and play Scrabble. But while
Fragen's world was being turned upside down, the outside world
The snow still needed to be shoveled, the lawn needed to
be mowed, the dogs needed to be walked and the plants needed to be
watered. Notices from the village threatened fines if Fragen didn't
whip her lawn into shape.
While she was able to pull together a few friends and
neighbors to help with the everyday things, Fragen and her daughter
realized not everyone was so lucky.
One month before Melissa died, she and her mother founded
Normal Moments, a non-profit organization that sends volunteers and
paid service providers to help with anything families need.
Services range from sending a cleaning service to the house to
building a swing set for a 5-year-old boy with leukemia so he could
have a safe place to play.
"The goal is to do what we can to give parents and
children more quality time together, because while we really do
love the wish-granting organizations, when a child is scared or not
feeling well, they don't really want Disney World, they just want
Mommy or Daddy," Fragen says.
Currently, Normal Moments serves 165 families in the
Chicago area and just launched its first national chapter in
Delaware and the greater Philadelphia region.
Danielle Braff lives with her two daughters and husband in downtown Chicago.
See more of Danielle's stories here.
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