Usually, it’s the child who carries out the legacy of a parent.
The reverse is true for Lorraine Tallman, the founder and CEO of Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels, yet she has a full heart being the executor of her late daughter’s dreams.
Since 2013, the foundation has assisted countless children undergoing cancer treatment and other severe debilitating conditions and their families by offering an umbrella of services that address nearly every need, from the physical to the mental to the financial.
It all began with Comfycozy’s for Chemo, Amanda’s concept-turned-tangible apparel for children undergoing chemotherapy like her.
Amanda designed a shirt with a peekaboo compartment that allowed for the port to be accessed discreetly without her body being exposed. This accomplishment came prior to her passing away two weeks before her 13th birthday in 2012, following a battle with leukemia and a brain tumor.
Originally, the project was slated as a mother-daughter venture to help kids in her situation maintain their dignity during this difficult time. But that never happened. Tallman says Amanda knew she survived leukemia but had a feeling she would not outlast the tumor.
“She made me promise that I would help every child with cancer,” Tallman recalls. “And an end-of-life promise is one a mom is not going to forget.”
The clothing is donated to children and organizations, with companies building care packages and sponsoring the production and designing of Comfycozy’s as team building or philanthropic efforts.
Tallman’s foundation serves 100-120 new patients a month undergoing treatment that requires a central line, including dialysis.
Today, children in every state plus Canada, Mexico, Italy, China, and Venezuela are finding comfort in Amanda’s dream come true.
The vast lineup of services also came from Amanda’s wish to alleviate many of the struggles other families with a child in treatment endured by addressing gaps in care. This includes family therapy, which is especially helpful to a parent watching over their child.
Amanda was also aware of the financial toll that can ultimately lead to mental and emotional strain that most parents are unprepared for. This sparked addressing areas such as financial aid and mental health. In May, the organization added an integrative health component that incorporates massage, reflexology, and more.
“If insurance doesn’t pay for it, hospitals would not provide it,” Tallman says. “Grieving happens the moment you hear the ‘C’ word. You are grieving the loss of everything you thought was possible.”
Tallman sees the difference Amanda’s vision is making daily. She talks about the sibling of a child who had relapsed from cancer. The sibling knew how the previous diagnosis overwhelmed and consumed their mother, leaving the sibling to cope with everything alone. The mother found out how deeply her child was hurting and reached out to Tallman, who arranged for family therapy.
“I know we saved that child’s life,” Tallman says. “We’re the helping hand, we’re the encourager.”
Feelings of utter joy and pride come with knowing that her daughter’s must-do list is complete.
“Amanda would always say, ‘Mom, we need to help.’ She wanted the full circle of family care,” Tallman says as her voice gently cracks. “Everything she wanted is being done. It was a tearful day when her bucket list was finally accomplished.”