From Tragedy to Triumph
In 2008, Brad and Beth Thorp buried their 18-year-old son, Mitchell, after an excruciating five-year medical tribulation that maxed out their insurance, emptied their bank account, challenged their marriage and led them to specialists all over the country.
In February 2004, Mitchell was an energetic seventh-grader at Aviara Oaks Middle School with a 4.0 GPA and a serious talent for baseball. What started as headaches evolved into severe and chronic pain, uncontrollable seizures, loss of muscle control and the ability to walk or feed himself. When he passed away in a Dallas hospital on November 19, 2008, doctors still had not traced the cause of his undiagnosed illness. During those black-cloud years, the Carlsbad couple said there was a silver lining. Friends and strangers organized a 2006 walk-a-thon that raised $70,000 the family used to pay down medical bills. From that gesture, just nine months after they lost their son, the couple launched the Mitchell Thorp Foundation (MTF), which each year provides more than $250,000 in support through their four programs to the parents of children with life-threatening illnesses, diseases and disorders.
The challenges families face when their child becomes ill is devastating. It turns their whole life upside down, 24/7 care and hardship become a way of life. Statistically 78% of married couples caring for a terminally ill child end in divorce or separation, often bankrupting them financially, physically and spiritually. By direct contrast MTF has a 100% success rate in keeping the families they serve together.
Among the many children MTF has helped, is the Sullivan family. Their son Keane who was 2 years old was diagnosed with high risk Neuroblastoma. Mom had to quit her job to stay by Keane’s side to care for him, traveling to and from the hospital, to be with him during his surgeries, chemo and stem cell treatments. Dad is working and taking care of the twin siblings who often get forgotten during a medical crisis. The foundation came to their rescue and helped them under the Medical and Home Assistance program. “Without the assistance from the Mitchell Thorp Foundation, we would have been homeless.” said mom. They helped us navigate through this journey, including advocating at the hospital for outstanding medical bills.” Brad said the compassion he and his wife have for other parents comes from their own painful experience.
The Foundation serves from 12 to 20 families a month at an average of $1,500 to $2,500 each. More than 93% of the $1,240,662 the foundation has raised since 2011, has gone toward their programs to assist children, a record of efficiency so impressive it earned the 2016 Starfish Leadership Award from the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.
Today, nine years after their son Mitchell passed away, his spirit lives on through the countless number of children the foundation has touched. Their collaboration in creating partnerships helps provide the many programs, which include:
- • Medical and Home Assistance Program
- • Healing and Rehabilitation Program
- • Conversion Wheelchair Mobility Van Program
- • Youth Leadership Program
The 9th Annual Mitchell Thorp Foundation 5K Warrior Spirit Run/Walk, will be held in Poinsettia Park on February 3rd. at 8:30 a.m. The 2018 theme “Bring Out the Warrior Spirit to Help a Warrior Child.” The event and family festival, includes Navy SEAL skydivers, live music by the Dr. Dr. Band, DJ entertainment, health and food vendors, children’s obstacle course and games.
The event is made possible by the support of sponsors including; Independent Financial Group, NRG Energy, DATRON, Sky Dive San Diego, Genentech and ViaSat. There is still plenty of need and opportunity for event sponsorships, vendors and donations to this worthy cause.
There are several ways to get involved in this commendable program which helps so many families in crisis. Please check the website for information on how you can come along side Brad and Beth Thorp and the Mitchell Thorp Foundation to make a difference.
- • Contribute financially as a corporate or individual donor
- • Encourage your employees to volunteer at MTF events
- • Choose Mitchell Thorp Foundation as your Charity of Choice
- • Become a monthly donor
- • Partner with Matching donations
- • Provide in kind donations
- • Auction items for events
- • Sponsor our Youth Leadership Council program
Information on sponsorships, donations and event registration can be found on the Mitchell Thorp Foundation website mitchellthorp.org