December Deliveries of Alyssa Starter Art Kits to 3 Hospitals & 2 RMHs

December 7th , Trina Krischon- Childlife Specialst at Delnor Hospital – Northwestern Medicine in Geneva, received a variety of art kits.  Delnor was Alyssa’s hometown hospital and we are happy to provide Alyssa Starter Art Kits to young patients being treated there.

December 11th, Cassandra Mcaly-Resident Coordinator at RMH in Winfield was happy to receive the new color-me lunch bag kits for the young patients staying at this house.

December 12th, Dora Castro-Ahillen-Child Life Coordinator at Central DuPage Hospital part of Northwestern Medicine in Winfield was delighted to receive a variety of art kits as they had run out several months ago.  They are glad to be able to give Alyssa Starter Art Kits to their young patients during this Christmas Season!

December 13th, Candi and Cathy-Edward's RMH Family Room Volunteers, accepted on behalf of Brittany Rhyne - RMH Manager, 5 different kinds of Alyssa Starter Art Kits (adult coloring books, color-me lunch bag kits, drawing kits, journal kits and watercolor kits).

December 13th, Mike Wehner-Music & Art Manager at Shirley Ryan Ability Lab (previously Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) received Alyssa Starter Art kits that will be given to teens and young adults in time for Christmas.  Mike said, "we are very happy to be part of the AAFH donation hospital list as there is a huge need of art materials and music services here".  Mike also asked if we could deliver more because he was sure the 30 kits would be gone in a few days as there are several hundred children who go to Ability Lab every day!     

AAFH gives hope and provides an outlet for creative expression through art and music to young patients dealing with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.  As you can see, Alyssa’s inspiration continues to bring other young patients the opportunity to experience the different art mediums like watercolors, acrylics, drawing, coloring and journaling.



Thanks to Our Giving Tuesday Donors & Tri-Cities Exchange Club

In terms of fund raising, the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) ended the month of November on a high note and began December likewise on a high note.

On “Giving Tuesday”, November 28th, generous donations were received by AAFH and on Tuesday, December 5th, the Tri-Cities Exchange Club President, Brian Henry, presented Yoli, President of AAFH, with a $500 check. These funds will go towards providing more musical instruments and professional art kits for teens and young adult patients going through medical treatment for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.  Music and art are known to be healing for the mind, body and spirit! 

We are very appreciative of the “Giving Tuesday” donors and Tri-Cities Exchange Club for the opportunity to bring a bit of joy and hope into the lives of the teens and young adult patients we are striving to help.

AAFH wishes you and yours a very Merry Christmas!



Alyssa Starter Art Kits Donated to Rush & Lurie Children’s Hospitals

On Monday, November 20th Carmen Ziegler-Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) Board Member delivered Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) to the Art Therapist at Rush Children's Hospital of Chicago. 

A week later, on Wednesday, November 29th Denise Cabrera-AAFH Executive Secretary, Daniel Guerrero, Alyssa’s cousin, and Yoli-AAFH President delivered Alyssa SAKs to Willow, the Art Therapist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.  Willow worked with Alyssa during her stay at Lurie’s and later assisted with identifying the art supplies that should go into the Alyssa Start Art Kits (SAKs).

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope was created to give hope and provide outlets for creative expression through art and music for young patients dealing with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. 

The photos shown here are demonstrations of the efforts many people have made to give hope whether it be the many instruments that have been donated to create a music room at the hospital or the beautiful geisha art piece that Alyssa created during her own treatment.  As you can see, Alyssa’s inspiration continues to bring our family, friends, donors and volunteers dedicated to helping children and young adults in their time of need. 



Art Night at RMH near Loyola Medical Center in Hines, IL

On Thursday, November 30, the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) hosted an Art Night at the Ronald McDonald House near Loyola Medical Center.  Nancy Nunez, Alyssa’s godmother, accompanied Yoli, Alyssa’s Mom and President of AAFH, to lead a Christmas gift decorating Art Night with the children and their family members staying at the RMH.

A young patient, Isabel, and her Mom, Jessica, were very excited to draw holiday-themed pictures on boxes, picture frames and plant holders provided by the AAFH for the Art Night.  The young patient and her parents had traveled all the way from Venezuela to receive treatment at Loyola Medical Center.

An Amish family also participated enthusiastically and decorated several items as well.  Nancy and Yoli encouraged and praised the efforts of the artists while everyone enjoyed themselves during the Art Night event.

Special thanks to Kelly, the night resident manager at RMH for facilitating the Art Night and also accepting the Alyssa Starter Art Kits.  The RMH was decorated beautifully for the holidays and we were happy to bring some joy, in Alyssa’s name, to the children and their families as they work through their health challenges.



Giving Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thank you for believing in our mission at the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH).  On this Giving Tuesday event for 2017 we hope you would consider making a donation of $20 or more this holiday season to provide the gift of music and art to teens and young adults going through cancer treatments.  The programs provided by the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope offers creative opportunities for young patients to further their interests in the musical and visual arts by gifting them with the musical instrument or professional art supplies they so choose.  This allows them to maximize their enjoyment of life during medical treatment. By offering these services to young patients, the AAFH gives these youths positive experiences during difficult times.

We experienced the joy that music and art brought to our precious daughter, Alyssa, as she went through her chemo treatments.  We want to share this same experience with other young patients and their families.  We should not let cancer or other diseases hold teens and young adults back from pursuing their dreams.

When you give even a little, teens and young adults will benefit from the AAFH music and art programs.  Please donate today and give them hope and comfort knowing you and other donors care.

We GIVE HOPE & JOY through Music & Art to young people like Holden-Sax (18), Amber-Art Package (18), Billy – Banjo (13), Veronica – Pink Guitar (16), Jameya - Keyboard (13), Mitch - Headphones (21), Abigail – Art Package (18) and Damien - electronic keyboard (16)

Visit our website to donate and for further information!





Two Deliveries of Alyssa SAKs to Hospital & RMH in St. Petersburg, FL

On Thursday, November 16, George Alvin, VP/Treasurer of the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope, delivered Alyssa Starter Art Kits to the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.  George put the kits together the night before and as he was doing so, he imagined the children and young adults who would receive one of these kits.  He hoped that these kits would help ease their minds a bit and bring them some respite from their current situation.

Upon entering Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, George met with Teresa from Child Life who accepted the delivery of the SAKs.  Teresa was grateful for the SAKs and stated they would be welcomed by the children receiving treatment at the hospital.

We look forward to continuing our relationship with Child Life at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

The second delivery of Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) was made to the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) East near Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital on Sunday, November 19.  Danny Guerrero, AAFH Volunteer and Alyssa’s cousin, along with George and Yoli, Alyssa’s parents, met with Stania Smida of the RMH East staff to deliver 44 Alyssa SAKs.  The delivery included a variety of art kits such as adult coloring books, drawing kits, Sculpey clay and Mona Lisa art kits.

As the season calls for, we are thankful that we can share Alyssa’s love for the arts with others.  



Mitch Receives His Bose SoundLink II Headphones

On Wednesday, November 15th, Denise - Executive Secretary and Yoli – President of Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope delivered to Mitch his new Bose SoundLink II wireless around the ear headphones.

Yoli met Linda, Mitch’s mom, during a RMH delivery of Alyssa Starter Art Kits, where Linda learned about the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope.  Mitch and Linda live in Ohio with their family, however, Mitch has been inpatient at University of Chicago Medicine since May 2017 with a chronic issue.  Mitch was diagnosed with a tethered spinal cord in 2008 and has required several surgeries and experienced many complications with long hospital stays over the last several years.  This May, Mitch’s condition declined and he needed yet another surgery.  He presently remains in the hospital recovering from his last surgery.  At this time, it is not known when Mitch will be released. 

Prior to Mitch’s surgery, he was an avid cyclist.  He enjoys listening to classic rock music and watching movies while at the hospital.  Being in an isolated hospital room and without family and friends can be quite stressful.  It is a pleasure to honor Mitch with his wireless headphone set so he can listen to his music without having to be connected by a cord.  Linda said, “the gift from Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope would be very meaningful as Mitch’s days are often long.” 

While we were with Mitch in his hospital room, he opened his headphones and tried them on.  He was very happy and appreciative of his gift.

We are grateful to honor the gift request of Mitch and other young adult patients in Alyssa’s memory.



Exelon Employees Assemble 100 Alyssa Starter Art Kits

On a recent, cold and wet November day, Exelon’s sunny volunteers from multiple locations gathered with their colleagues and Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope President, Yoli Alvin, at a Cantera conference room in Warrenville to assemble 100 journals and color-me-art lunch bags.  The volunteer event was coordinated by Rita Alviar and sponsored by Lance Rettberg who provided lunch for the entire volunteer team on Thursday, November 9th.

A total of 23 volunteers participated in this first-time art kit preparation to benefit AAFH which is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit young adult cancer foundation.  Its mission is to bring the joyful gifts of music and visual arts into the lives of young people who are battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. 

Yoli delivered a short presentation about her daughter, Alyssa, and the Foundation - why it was created, the 4 main music and art programs, what the organization has accomplished in the last 2 1/2 years and how Exelon employees can help promote it.

Vincent Powell, one of the 8 Claims Department employees who participated, demonstrated his initiative by getting the group to finish assembling all 100 Alyssa Starter Art kits in a record-setting time of 25 minutes!  Everyone had fun and enjoyed this event. 

The same afternoon, Yoli received news that employees applied for a $100 grant to go towards Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope organization.  This grant directly contributes in meeting Exelon’s 2017 Employee Giving Campaign.

We thank all the volunteers for their generosity of time and donations to make a difference in young patients’ lives throughout the communities that thee Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope serves.  Together we can bring joy to more teens and young cancer patients!



Fiesta de Arte 2017!

On Sunday afternoon, November 5th, the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope hosted the 3rd annual Fiesta de Arte at El Molcajete restaurant in Geneva.  The auction room was jam-packed with attendees enjoying appetizers while bidding on art pieces, musically-themed gifts and other donations from friends, supporters and local businesses. 

Our featured artist, Louise Grissinger, spoke to our group and shared the stories of her art and teaching careers as well as that of her son, Jimmy, and his untimely death.  Jimmy Grissinger, like Alyssa, was a promising musician.  We honor his memory too, celebrate their love for the arts and carry on with the AAFH mission of bringing joy to young patients seeking creative outlets.

The highlight of the afternoon occurred on the outdoor patio with musical entertainment provided by El Mariachi Instituto de Chicago (MIC), a group of grade school and high school musicians led by Tony Ozuna, Director of MIC.  Though the evening was cool, the music was hot and lively and thoroughly enjoyed by all there.  The young musicians were dressed in traditional mariachi attire and the boys and girls demonstrated fine skills with their violins, guitars, trumpets, voices and more.

After the wonderful musical performance, guests returned back inside to the auction room to see what they had won from the 35 auction items donated.  Special thanks to Louise, Tony, El Molcajete restaurant, all the donors and everyone who attended and supported our successful event!



Damien Opens His Eyes to His New Keyboard and Has a ‘Wow!’ Moment

On a cold fall day, Damien arrived at Lurie Children’s Hospital at 6 a.m. to get ready for his surgery which would go on for about 6 hours.  Tina, Damien’s mom, thought it would be a nice surprise for Damien to receive his gift following his surgery.  So on Friday, November 3rd, Yoli Alvin - President of Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope - waited until Damien was taken to his inpatient room to deliver his keyboard and headphones.

Upon arriving at Damien’s room, Mike, his Dad, and Victoria, his aunt, were there saying that he was still very tired after his procedure.  While waiting for Damien to awake, his keyboard and headphones were arranged on a chair at his bedside.  When he awoke from his nap, his sleepy eyes went immediately to the chair holding his gifts.  He broke into a smile and said simply, “Wow”!

Damien, is 16 years old and was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma of the right humerus on May 12, 2017.  He is a high school sophomore in Lake Villa where he lives with his family and furry cat, Dubs.  Damien is receiving treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.  At the time of his diagnosis, Damien heard about AAFH and filled out the gift request form for the keyboard.

Damien plays the saxophone and piano and enjoys listening to and playing jazz and funk.  He has already had the good fortune to jam onstage in concert with the internationally renowned horn section, Tower of Power, and his YouTube video clip has been viewed tens of thousands of times already.    

We are grateful to present Damien and other young patients facing life threatening diseases with musical instruments in Alyssa’s memory.  



Delivery of Alyssa SAKs to RMH near Comer Hospital

A 1st time delivery of Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) to the RMH near Comer Children’s Hospital & University of Chicago was made on Friday, November 3, 2017 by Yoli, Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) President.  Mardell Gundlach, RMH Director,  received the Alyssa SAKs which will be given to the teens and young adults being treated with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. 

Mardell introduced Yoli to Linda, who had brought her 21-year-old son, Mitch, to one of his regular treatments at Comer Children’s Hospital.  Linda shared with Yoli that there are limited resources for the young adult patients being treated at the hospital.  Linda was happy to learn about the AAFH and the music and art programs we offer to young adult patients.  Linda accepted one of our Alyssa SAKs for Mitch and is excited to tell him about our Gift Recipient Program.    Our mission is very simple, bring joy to young cancer patients through our art and music programs.  We look forward to receiving Mitch’s gift request soon and bringing him joy in the near future.



Delivery of Alyssa SAKs to Rush Copley Cancer Center

Our first ever delivery of Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) to the Rush Copley Cancer Center in Aurora, IL was made on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 by Rita Alviar- AAFH Volunteer and Yoli -President of Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope.  Laura Rollins the Oncology Social Worker at this cancer center received the Alyssa SAKs.  These art kits will be given to young adults being treated for cancer there. 

The delivery included 5 different types of Alyssa SAKs – acrylic paint, watercolor, adult coloring book, drawing and journal kits.  Laura informed us that there are about 35 young adult cancer patients and an 18-year old patient was going to be receiving treatment there in the coming week.  Laura was excited to be able to give the young patient an Alyssa SAK and looks forward to the joy our art program will bring to the young patients at Rush Copley.



3rd Annual – La Fiesta de Arte – Art Exhibit

Don't Forget!!!  November 5, 2017 ...Our 3rd Annual – La Fiesta de Arte will be held at El Molcajete in Geneva, IL from 3-6 pm.  Checkout the photos from last year's art exhibit.

Local merchants have donated gourmet baskets for our silent auction and the young performers from El Mariachi Institute of Chicago are returning to perform for our guests.

In addition, our featured artist, Louise Grissinger will have her art displayed as well as several items for the silent auction that you can bid on.  She will talk about her professional art career. 

Come join us to support our mission and help bring joy to young cancer patients through our art and music programs.



Delivery of Alyssa SAKs to RMH in Chicago

Dozens of Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) were delivered to the RMH near Lurie Children’s Hospital on Friday, October 20, 2017 by Yoli -President of Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope.  Ashley (RMH Manager) and three other staff members (in photos below) received the Alyssa SAKs which will be given to young patients residing there while being treated for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

The Starter Art Kits come in different formats to appeal to the different ages and interests of the young adult patients.  The staff at the various RMHs that we visit always tell us how popular and appreciated the kits are.  This is gratifying in knowing that Alyssa continues to positively impact others through her love of the arts. 



Alex Happy to Receive his Guitar

On Monday, October 9th, Yoli Alvin, AAFH President, delivered an acoustic Yamaha guitar to a teen boy receiving chemo treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.  Jose Hidalgo, who goes by Alex, completed his gift request in late September with assistance from Music Therapist, Rachel Epley. 

Alex relapsed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) on August 1, 2017, and has been going to Lurie Children’s Hospital for regular treatments accompanied by his Mom, Ana Negrete.  Alex, currently in 8th grade, has a 5-year old brother and lives with his family in Addison, IL. 

As his Mom commented, this gift was just what Alex needed to lift his spirits in the face of the challenges ahead.  Alex enjoys listening to music and really wants to learn to play an acoustic guitar.  When Alex is admitted at Lurie’s, he borrows a guitar for his hospital stay and is very anxious to go home to practice his new guitar.

We are grateful to present Alex and other young patients with musical instruments in Alyssa’s memory.  



Alyssa Starter Art Kits Brought to Chicago Proton Center and RMH

Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) have been delivered to several locations in the western suburbs of Chicago.  Lauren (RMH House Manager) and Katie (House Director) of RMH near Central DuPage Hospital received a variety of Alyssa SAKs on September 18, 2017.  

Then on September 19, 2017, Aileen (Child Life Specialist) and Katie (Child Life Intern) of Chicago Proton Center received adult coloring book kits, drawing kits, watercolor kits and acrylic paint kits.  Aileen said, “We are happy to be able to share Alyssa Starter Art Kits with teens and young adults being treated at the Proton Center.”  Yoli told Aileen and Katie that it is our hope for the young patients to enjoy and benefit from the art kits. 

We thank everyone who is making it possible to prepare and make donations for the art kits so more teens and young adults staying at a RMH and/or receiving treatment at medical institutions can explore and be creative with these wonderful art materials!



Eliza Is All Smiles as She Receives Her New Guitar

On Sunday, September 17th, Yoli Alvin, Alyssa Alvin for Hope Foundation (AAFH) President, delivered an acoustic guitar to a young girl receiving treatment at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago.  Yoli was joined by her nephew, Daniel Guerrero, in presenting the guitar to Eliza and her family.  Eliza had made a gift request on the AAFH website when she was referred to the Foundation by the hospital’s music therapist, Jonathan.

The entire Beth family, Dad-Pete, Mom-Mindy and Eliza’s siblings: Megan-10 and Henry-2 traveled from their farm in Wisconsin to be treated by the specialists here in Chicago.  Because this was their second time here after Eliza experienced a relapse, the family told us how knowing a gift would be waiting for her lifted her spirits in the face of the challenges ahead.

Eliza is an 8-year-old who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in the Spring of 2014 and relapsed last year in September of 2016.  Eliza’s nickname is Izza and she enjoys playing piano just like Alyssa did and is looking forward to learning how to play the guitar.  When Izza met Jonathan, she told him of her desire to get a guitar.

We consider it a privilege to be able to have a positive impact on the young patients that we are able to present with musical instruments or art supplies in the name of the AAFH and in Alyssa’s memory.  We will never forget the joy it brought Alyssa and are happy to widen that circle of joy as much as we can.



Music Night at RMH Near Loyola Medical Center

On Tuesday, September 12th, the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope hosted a Music Night at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) near Loyola Medical Center, Hines, IL. 

Young patients and their families heard a short talk on the history and use of various musical instruments.  The instruments included the tambourine, maracas, rhythm sticks, bongos, ukulele and an acoustic guitar.  The families and young patients had the opportunity to try each of them.  One of the young teen volunteers at the RMH that evening entertained us with his guitar playing and then played the piano that is located near the dining/living area.

We also dropped off 5 Alyssa Starter Art Kits to be given to teens and young adults staying at the RMH during their treatment. 

As always, old acquaintances were renewed with staff and people we had previously met at RMH.  New friendships were created in the sharing of stories with the families there.  Alyssa’s story and her legacy live on when we share her love for art and music by donating equipment and supplies to children like her.



University Student, Abigail, Receives Art Supplies

Abigail is an 18-year-old college student who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma a year ago in September 2016 and is being treated at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois.  She is currently a Freshman at North Park University on the north side of Chicago.  

Abigail learned about the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope through her contact with Lori Makey, Art Therapist at Advocate Children’s Hospital and completed her gift request in August.  Abigail shared with us that she likes to paint and loves to learn.

On Monday, September 11th, Rita Alviar (AAFH volunteer) joined Yoli (AAFH President) to deliver the art supplies that Abigail had requested.  Her art materials included several pints of primary colored paints, acrylic modeling paste, several paint brushes, a set of steel knives, palette seal, canvas’ of different sizes, and a special inlaid liner.  Needless to say, Abigail was thrilled to receive all these items.

Whenever we share Alyssa’s love of art and music with others and see the positive impact it has on young patients, we are reminded of the important work that the Foundation does.  We told Abigail that we hope she shares some of her artwork with us in the future and thereby spreads the message even further.



AAFH Goes to Hospital Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona, Spain

On Wednesday, August 30th, the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) donated 50 Alyssa Starter Art Kits which included 35 adult coloring book kits and 15 journal kits.  In addition, AAFH donated 7 ukuleles to young patients at the Hospital Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona, Spain.  The 7 musical gift recipients were as follows: Alex - 16, Oriol - 13, Daniel - 17, Juan Manuel - 10, Jan - 7, Enrique - 13, and Ivan - 16 years of age.

The president of AAFH, Yoli Alvin, was accompanied by Alyssa’s godmother, Nancy Nunez, in traveling to Barcelona.  While there, they stayed with the family of Pilar Gavin and Diego Marquez, friends of the Alvin family who all met on a Mediterranean cruise during one of Alyssa's summer vacations.  Pilar graciously hosted Yoli and Nancy as well as coordinated the visit to the hospital in advance of their arrival through her contact with Eunice Blanco Vazquez, one of the hospital's social workers.

Yoli, Nancy, Pilar and Diego joined the medical team of nurses, doctors and social workers to deliver the colorful ukuleles to the young cancer patients who were receiving treatment at the hospital.  The smiling faces in the pictures show that AAFH continues to spread Alyssa’s love for music and the arts bringing joy to patients and their families during very challenging times.

We appreciate the efforts made by the oncology and hematology medical staff including: Nieves Lorez, Esther Diaz, Dr. Cristina Diaz Heredia, Roser Lara and Elena Rubio. A special thanks to our new friend, Eunice, who went above and beyond her role to make this a successful delivery!

All expenses related to this hospital visit were paid by the participants and the foundation funds were only used for the purchase of the music equipment and art materials.