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Fairy Godmother Project: Granting the Simple Wishes

When families receive the life-altering news that their child has pediatric cancer, they often find themselves struggling to keep up with everyday responsibilities like household chores or basic expenses. From traveling back and forth between doctor’s appointments and being present and staying positive for their child, the stress and feeling of isolation can be like no other.

That’s when Fairy Godmother Project (FGP) steps in.

Newly appointed executive director Cathleen Pessolano describes the Fredericksburg organization as one that has truly served families’ needs for 11 years.

“Everything we have developed has come out of the request of the families we serve, rather than me thinking ‘Oh, this is what I think you need,’” Pessolano said. “It’s really us going with them on this journey and them feeling safe enough to share their experience with us and for us to ask: ‘Is there anything you need?’”

FGP is a multi-faceted organization with multiple programs to support families, whether regional or local, dealing with pediatric cancer. Its most popular program is the Family Services Program, which offers services like lawn maintenance, house cleaning, grocery shopping and providing gas and grocery gift cards. Families also receive snack and meal packages that are prepared by volunteers.

“The families had the capability to focus their energy on being better caregivers to their children,” Pessolano said. “It changed the whole trajectory of what was going on.”

Fairy Godmother Project's founders pose in FGP branded fairy costumes, with tutus, wings, and a wand.

Perhaps one of the most impactful aspects of the Family Services Program is the Lead Volunteer. This individual acts as another connection and support for the family by consistently checking in and providing one-on-one care. Pessolano describes this individual as someone who is reliable, but also doesn’t expect anything in return from the family.

“If a family doesn’t feel like contacting the lead volunteer back because it’s been a bad day, the volunteer tells them upfront that they’re just checking in and don’t expect a response,” Pessolano says. “But the family knows someone else is in their corner. They are there just for that reassurance.”

Among its other programs, FGP helps take care of two medical bills per year, buys AAA memberships for families and even helps when it comes to end-of-life decisions through its Stargazer program.

Through support groups and community events, Fairy Godmother Project helps families at every step of the way. From diagnosis to remission, and sometimes to relapse and end-of-life preparations, FGP believes helping families with normal, everyday tasks allows the family to focus on things that truly matter.

It wants families to know they are never alone in their journey in fighting pediatric cancer.

To support Fairy Godmother Project and the families it serves, visit its website here. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, learn more here. You also can follow the organization on Instagram and Facebook.

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