The Inspiration for 12 Oaks Foundation
Matt Hupp was born to love sports. Basketball, baseball, football—he loved them all. He took chances on snow boards, and took medals running track. His participation in sports helped to define just who he was. Even at 13, Matt had self-confidence, courage, discipline, perseverance and leadership. It’s hard to imagine him without a number 12 on his shirt bounding out the door for a game.
The life lessons Matt learned on the field helped him in his fight with cancer. He stared it in the eye and kept fighting. And although he lost his battle in 2009 at age 13, he won something else—the love and respect of everyone who knew him.
We learned something too…that along with faith, the support of the community can be the difference between hope and despair. When you’re in the fight for a child’s life, you burn resources at an alarming rate. Battling a child’s illness is costly, and not just financially. Reserves of time, energy, and patience drop to nearly nothing. You want to do more for your other family members than you have the strength to do. And they suffer too.
Our family was lucky. We had tremendous support from our community. So many people were there to prop us up when we most needed it to keep going. It was a gift we cannot ever fully repay. But we’re going to try with the 12 Oaks Foundation.
Our mission is to provide a resource that will help defray the cost of sports and community programs for children of families suffering financial hardship. Working with local organizations, the 12 Oaks Foundation will provide grants to families in need so their kids won’t have to miss some of the best parts of childhood. Funds will be awarded based on financial need, with special consideration given to children in families coping with cancer.
We saw what extracurricular activities gave to Matt. No child should have to miss the opportunity to develop a strong character through teamwork, competition, and problem-solving that comes with these activities.
Honoring Matt’s favorite sports number, 12 Oaks is more than homage to our brave young son. It’s also a thank you to all those who took the time to help a family in crisis. We will never forget you. But most of all, 12 Oaks is a promise; a promise to help remove financial barriers for children of families in distress.