May 2010

The Curry Foundation

Author: Frank Dunne, Jr.

The Curry Foundation’s genesis was quite simple: a friend helping a friend.

In May of 2009 Thomas M. Curry, Jr., president and CEO of Hardeeville-based Lowcountry Paver, learned that his friend Ben Kennedy had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma…for the second time in a year. Ben and his wife Brittany again braced for the fight of their young lives, but the financial burdens brought on by the cancer quickly became an insurmountable obstacle.

Ben needed to go to Emory University in Atlanta to receive treatment that could last for months. Obviously, he wanted his wife by his side, and they were fortunate that Brittany’s family lives in Atlanta. So they had a place to stay together, but that meant months away from work for both of them while the medical bills piled up on top of the rent on their home, car payments, and other obligations.

“I’d been through this ten months prior. This was my second diagnosis within ten months. One, I was devastated. Two, the financial burden that we were about to undergo was immense. Knowing that I was not going to go to work during this time was overwhelming to me,” said Ben.

Ben and Brittany are a hard working, self-sufficient couple with a bright future. Both are college educated and both have good careers. They are by no means poor, but when life dealt them a financially crippling blow last year, they needed help.

“Tom realized that I was about to undergo some very expensive processes while not having any income, and Brittany was also going to be out of work to stay with me while I was in the hospital,” said Ben. “The bills were not going to stop just because I was diagnosed.”

“And, because of the economy, our company had stopped paying a high percentage of the insurance, so the total insurance was on us,” added Brittany.

Fortunately, Ben’s insurance coverage was sufficient to cover the medical expenses after paying a deductible of about $2,000, but they still had to keep up with the premiums and ordinary living expenses and pay for travel to and from Atlanta. Without steady income, it would have been impossible without some help.

Wanting to provide that help, Tom established the Curry Foundation to raise the funds necessary to let Ben and Brittany concentrate their time and energy on beating Ben’s cancer.

“I was blown away at how fast he progressed in getting it done,” said Ben. “People from all over just started contributing. We were able to stabilize, thanks to the Curry Foundation.”

“It wasn’t just money either,” said Brittany. “One member of the Foundation would stop by our house and pick up the bills that would come in the mail while we were away and pull out the medical and insurance bills, go through them, and even argue some of them for us if she thought something didn’t look right.”

“We also noticed that our grass was being cut every two weeks,” added Ben. They never found out who was doing it.

And that’s what the Curry Foundation is all about. Friends helping friends; neighbors helping neighbors; communities banding together to help their members. The Curry Foundation is a 401© 3 non-profit organization with a mission to provide emotional and financial support to individuals or families suffering financial hardship due to a life-altering tragedy such as a serious or terminal illness or a death in the family. The Foundation’s aim is to help these people get back on their feet by providing financial help to pay living expenses and medical bills, and assist with lost wages.

Today, although his battle is not completely over, Ben is back home in Bluffton and doing well. In fact, he now volunteers his time for the Curry Foundation so that he can help others as the Foundation has helped him. Soon, the Curry Foundation will begin a campaign to identify its next beneficiaries.

On June 5, 2010, the Curry Foundation will hold its first major fundraising event: the First Annual Curry Cup Charity Golf Event. It will be held at the Hampton Hall Golf Club, and with the help of sponsors like The Adventure Radio Group and Celebrate Hilton Head, it is sure to be a great success and a good time for all who participate.

To learn more about the Curry Foundation and the First Annual Curry Cup Charity Golf Event, visit CurryFoundation.org.

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