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Cook Children’s program offers patient’s families free meal

Families with sick children can count on a free meal at Cook Children’s Medical Center as part of a new service created by a teenage cancer survivor.

Katie’s Helping Hand, an advocacy group founded by Katie Vacanti-Mitchell, 16, has raised $19,800 as an initial gift toward a goal of $100,000.

Cook Children’s is the second hospital in the country to offer meals through Katie’s Helping Hand. The first is Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, where Katie was treated for leukemia. Since 2004, Katie’s Helping Hand has raised more than $100,000 to provide meals to parents there. Vacanti-Mitchell came up with the idea of providing food to families while she was undergoing chemotherapy four years ago. She wanted parents not to have to leave their children during treatment or be burdened with additional costs.

“Parents are hungry,” she said. “We decided we needed to do something to help those parents.”

Read more about the program at