CARLSBAD — A Carlsbad family has turned their personal tragedy into a support system for local families with children fighting life-threatening illnesses.
After losing their son Mitchell to a battle with cancer, the Thorps started a nonprofit foundation as a helping hand for other struggling families. Launched in June, the Mitchell Thorp Foundation has been raising money to help local families pay for expensive medical treatments not covered by insurance.
“Our focus is to help take off some of the financial burden to let the family do what they need to do — love and take care of their children,” said Beth Thorp, Mitchell’s mom.
Since its inception, the Mitchell Thorp Foundation, or MTF, has been a sigh of relief for two Carlsbad families with children battling life-threatening diseases. While the families of Chase Quartarone and Sam Reiser have altered their daily lives to seek out medical treatments, MTF has contributed to the cost of medical bills through donations, Thorp said.
“We want to be local – to help local families in dire need,” she said.
To raise money for the families, MTF will be hosting its first Mitchell Thorp Foundation Walk-a-Thon in January. Proceeds from the “happy and peppy” event will help Chase and Sam, both 16, as they continue to seek treatment for their illnesses, Thorp said.
“It’s going to be a fun event, yet for a good cause,” she said.
The upcoming family-friendly fundraiser with a deejay and prizes will be held at Poinsettia Park’s soon to be renamed Field One. City Council approved a proposed name change and as of Nov. 19, Field One will officially be called Thorp Field in memory of Mitchell.
“It came as a desire to commemorate what Mitchell meant to the community,” said MTF board member Tom Watson.
As the MTF puts the final touches on the upcoming event, the Thorp family remembers the support and donations they received through a walk-a-thon held for their son. Although they faced daily struggles and worried about medical bills, the Carlsbad baseball leagues organized a walk-a-thon to raise money for Mitchell’s treatments, said Watson, who spearheaded the first event.
“The community came together on our behalf,” Thorp said. “The outpouring was unbelievable.”
As Nov. 19 approaches and marks a year since Mitchell passed away, the family takes comfort from the generosity and support of the local community. While the family looks back on a year without a beloved son, brother and community member, they are looking forward to helping other local families in need, Thorp said.
“It’s their way of giving back to the community,” Watson said. “It gives them an outlet for their emotions.”
To donate, volunteer or register for the Mitchell Thorp Foundation’s Walk-a-Thon in January, visit www.mitchellthorp.com.