Even before he became ill, Mike Hele struggled to support himself and
his 14-year-old daughter, Allison. But when a growth on his neck
turned out to be a malignant tumor, Hele’s financial situation, as
well as his emotional state, hit rock bottom.
“When I got the diagnosis last summer, a lot of anger came out,”
After the anger and the “why me” stages subsided, depression set
in, intensified by the loss of his sales job and his health benefits,
With no money for rent or food, Hele’s 78-year-old mother and his
daughter showed up at the Burbank Temporary Aid Center seeking help.
The day before they arrived at the center, Stacy Schumacher, the
center’s administrative assistant, spoke with Kiwanis Club of Burbank
member Stephen Veres.
“He said, ‘If you find someone who needs ongoing assistance, refer
them to us,’ ” Schumacher said. “It was the Lord’s will. One day I
talked to Steve, and the next day they came to us.”
Once Veres -- chairman of the club’s Kiwanis Cares About Children
fund -- learned of Hele’s plight, he immediately helped with three
$100 gift cards to Ralphs.
“We’re very thankful for the Kiwanis,” Hele said. “I didn’t even
know what they were before this.”
Club members are now negotiating with Hele’s credit-card companies
and doctors to reduce monthly payments on his bills, Veres said.
“We just want to make their lives a little bit easier and remove
the stress from them,” Veres said.
Hele goes to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center once a week for
chemotherapy to reduce the size of the inoperable tumor. Doctors
there have given him a 40% chance of survival, Hele said.
Kiwanis is sponsoring a fund-raising dinner Monday evening at
Genio’s restaurant, 1420 W. Olive Ave.
Diners are requested to notate “Kiwanis” on their bills, and 15%
of the tab will be donated to the organization, Veres said.
Kiwanis is also banding together with the Burbank High School Key
Club for a fund-raiser Wednesday evening at Sharky’s Mexican Grill,
1791 N. Victory Place. The notation on this bill for the 15%
contribution should read, “BHS Key Club.”
To donate directly to Kiwanis, mail checks to: Kiwanis Club of
Burbank, P. O. Box 1922, Burbank, CA 91507.