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Triangle Downtowner Magazine

The Helene Foundation: Charity Profile

Jan 15, 2017 03:39PM ● By Crash Gregg

The Helene Foundation is a wonderful local nonprofit organization whose mission is to help make a mother’s battle with cancer an easier fight to win. This organization has quietly provided much-needed assistance to North Carolina families since 2009. The Foundation helps mothers who have been diagnosed with cancer have an easier time organizing home life while undergoing often debilitating cancer treatment. The Helene Foundation was founded in 2009 and was named after Helene Davidian, a local nurse with a passion for helping others. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and passed away just a year later.  However, her love of caring for the community lives on through this foundation created by Dr. Tracy Davidian, and has since assisted 133 North Carolina families with 280 children.  Care offered by the Helene Foundation cover many areas, including childcare, transportation, meal delivery, house cleaning, and other services that a mother can no longer provide to her family and herself.

For a family to qualify for the program, there are two requirements that must be met: the mother must be currently undergoing cancer treatment and there must be children living in the home under 18 years of age. Families are typically referred to the foundation through a social worker assigned to them at the hospital where the mother is receiving treatment; however, applicants can also send in an application directly. The Helene Foundation reviews each application, consults with the social worker about the mother’s case, then the family is contacted directly to assess their situation, where the mother outlines her needs and preferences. The Foundation then chooses whether or not to “adopt” the family, and applies whatever specific type of assistance the family needs most. The “adoptions” last for a six-month period (the typical amount of time it takes for a family dealing with trauma to get back on track with their daily routines), but can be extended depending on the family’s situation. The foundation works to make sure that all provided assistance is done with the mother’s needs in mind for maintaining a happy, normal home life for the family. 

Susan Bowers, the Foundation’s Executive Director explains, “Cancer can touch any person, any part of the body at any time.  We all know someone who has faced this dreaded diagnosis.  There are people who are devoting their lives to research to find a cure for this terrible disease.  Until it is found, the Helene Foundation will be there for the NOW! Currently, we’re assisting 11 adopted families with 24 children.”

Volunteers that assist with the families are specially trained to help people who are undergoing a traumatic event. These volunteers are the liaison between the families and the Foundation, and often times the volunteers remain close with the families even after the adoption is over, helping to create an extended local support system for the mother. Right now, the Helene Foundation has 17 trained volunteers, but they are always looking for more; the volunteer opportunities range from interacting with adopted families to helping plan fundraising events.

Anyone interested in volunteering, learning about adopted families, or applying for an adoption can check out their Facebook page, Twitter @HeleneFound or their website, The organization's biggest fundraiser of the year is the Helene Foundation Gala, which usually takes place in May. Please contact the Foundation to learn more about becoming a sponsor, purchasing tickets, or volunteering for this event or to host your own fundraiser.