Dollars raised through Step Up for Kids help fund services that insurance doesn’t cover and programs that families don’t receive a bill for. Programs like pet therapy, in-hospital summer camp and school services are all provided by our Department of Family Services and supported by donations made to Step Up for Kids.

Molly’s Story

Every year, a patient champion from Lurie Children’s take the first steps at Aon Step Up for Kids, presented by KPMG. This year’s champion is Molly.

Molly was six years old when doctors found a cancerous tumor on her kidney. While doctors began an aggressive treatment plan tailored to Molly’s needs, her parents agonized over how to talk about everything that was happening with their daughter.

“We didn’t have all the answers,” recalls her dad, Jon. “So, we didn’t know how to approach the subject with our daughter. And the Child Life Specialists really helped us with that.” 

Lurie Children’s Child Life Specialists work with patients and families to help them understand and cope with the challenges of being in the hospital and going through treatment. Elizabeth, one of Molly’s Child Life Specialists, used Play-Doh and kid-friendly terms to explain how the chemotherapy would shrink her tumor. As Molly’s treatment progressed, Child Life Specialists helped the family navigate other difficult conversations, such as chemo-induced hair loss, and offered coping strategies for Molly’s little sister Annie.

"So many people have gone out of their way to help us," says Molly's mom, Erin. "All the resources that Lurie Children's provides allows us to focus on Molly, her health and her sister."

Child Life services are provided free-of-charge to families thanks to philanthropy and funds raised through Step Up for Kids.


You Make An Impact


is enough help make a child’s hospital stay a more positive experience with activities, supplies and toys


provides patients with the support they need to thrive after lengthy hospital stays


supports clinical trials to help discover new or more effective treatment options


means we can attract the very finest candidates and train the next generation of specialists

Tsedal and Phoenix

We’re so lucky to have a hospital like Lurie Children’s right here in Chicago. It literally saved my son’s life.

Tsedal Wiafe-Ababio, Mom to Phoenix, who was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and received a heart transplant at Lurie Children’s.

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