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Love of Place: Family Giving

At age 21, Patrick Wiese was excelling as a baseball player for Le Moyne College when he was shaken with a sudden diagnosis of Osteosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. His dreams of a minor league contract seemed dim as he underwent surgeries, chemotherapy treatments and appointments.

While his health steadily improved over his six months spent in the hospital, Wiese watched as many others experienced a different fate. Five of his roommates lost their battles with cancer, and it was in those somber moments that he found renewed purpose — to help others enduring similar battles.

“If God was willing to help me survive, it was because I was meant to do something positive in a big way,” said Wiese. “I was placed on a path that not many others have walked, and I knew I needed to help other kids who were struggling.”

As Wiese drummed up ideas, his college friend, Nate Reynolds, led efforts to rally the community to raise funds for Wiese’s medical bills. When he returned home, he was presented with a check. While astounded and grateful, Wiese had a different vision for the money.

He and his mother, Kathleen, turned to the Community Foundation and through careful conversations chose to put the money towards establishing the Patrick Wiese Foundation Fund. The fund supports the purchase of materials like books and laptops for children diagnosed with cancer to continue their education — sometimes an afterthought amid consuming costs of hospital stays, chemotherapy treatments, food and even parking.

While experiencing draining physical treatments during his hospital stay, Wiese had found normalcy by continuing with his college studies.

“I still participated in my classes virtually instead of spending my time worrying about whether or not I was going to get better,” said Wiese. “I now want to show other kids they don’t have to put their education, life or dreams on hold for something that’s out of their control.”

In awe of her son’s good will, Kathleen decided to also set up a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation to facilitate her family giving.

“The Community Foundation staff has been very supportive of Pat’s goals for his fund and we’re so grateful for that,” said Kathleen. “Seeing their financial expertise gave me the peace of mind and assurance that our money would be well-stewarded to continue our giving to the causes we care about in the community that has given our family so much.”