About broken NOT BROKE

broken NOT BROKE is a portal to help families whose household finances have been impacted by childhood cancer. The site offers quick access to information about organizations offering financial support to pediatric cancer patients.

  • The portal was designed to be user-friendly and stress-free to make it easier and faster for families and medical professionals to access relevant information.
  • Access to the portal is free and users don’t need to register or input any information to use it.
  • The site was created and sponsored by the Guarini Institute at NJCU and is not affiliated with any other private, public, or nonprofit entity.
  • broken NOT BROKE is a portal to more than 450 organizations offering financial support to families of pediatric cancer patients. 
  • Users only need to answer 3 questions: zip code, type of cancer, and type of funding/support. The portal will return a list of helpful organizations and links to their applications. Users can filter the list if they need help with specific expenses such as housing, parking or out of pocket costs.

Financial hardship is experienced by most families impacted by childhood cancer. Significant monetary shocks like bankruptcy, eviction, excessive debt, and unemployment are common. As a consequence, the likelihood of economic mobility in the short- and long-term of the family members diminishes.

Most families of children diagnosed by cancer are emotionally broken and, in many cases, end financially broke.

Thousands of families and caregivers experience childhood cancer in the U.S. According to Children’s Cancer Cause:

  • About 1 in 285 children will develop cancer before the age of 20.
  • In 2018, 17,293 children were diagnosed with cancer in the United States — approximately 47 children per day.
  • There are around 500,000 childhood cancer survivors in the United States.

Families of children diagnosed with cancer are confronted with numerous and long-term expenses that have a significant effect in the financial stability of the household.

  • These include health-related costs like hospital expenses, medicines, and insurance deductibles.
  • Other expenses include child care of siblings, transportation to medical center, and housing accommodations.
  • Depending on the length of the treatment and the socioeconomic status of the family, the impact ranges from draining assets like retirement funds and college funds to bankruptcy and eviction.

A study by The National Children’s Cancer Society

  • 25% of families lose 40% of their income as a result of the treatment. A third of parents and caregivers will lose their job or change jobs as a consequence of the diagnosis.
  • 10-15% of families who were not poor, became poor after pediatric cancer impacted their lives.
  • On average, in 2009 pediatric hospitalizations principally for cancer cost nearly 5 times as much as hospitalizations for other conditions.

Survivors of childhood cancer can experience financial hardship given insurance affordability, and various health outcomes. As a consequence, the likelihood of economic mobility of all members of the family diminishes.

Families of children diagnosed by cancer are emotionally broken and, in many cases, end financially broke.

In addition to maintaining the database of 450 organizations that provide financial support, the portal plans to incorporate other user-friendly tools to assist families with childhood cancer.

Our mission is to increase the economic mobility of students and families facing financial hardship by championing novel tools that match them with relevant information and resources.

The Guarini Institute at NJCU was officially launched on November 18, 2020, with a virtual ribbon-cutting event attended by special guests and dignitaries from across the world. The institute was made possible by a $5 million gift in May 2020 from long-time NJCU donor, Congressman Frank J. Guarini.

In February 2021, Dr. Adrian Franco, a former officer and director at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, began his role as inaugural executive director and manager of the $5 million gift.

NJCU President Sue Henderson said: “I am pleased to welcome Dr. Adrian Franco to our institution in this exciting new capacity. Dr. Franco’s experience in education, development, leadership, and his past executive roles in his native Mexico make him uniquely qualified to build our shared vision to make NJCU the statewide leader in enhancing business, culture, and citizenry.”

Learn more about Guarini and his gift.

More information about the Guarini Institute at NJCU -> here.

Adrián Franco, Ph.D.

Executive Director – Guarini Institute at NJCU

Adrián Franco is an entrepreneurial executive with 20 years of experience providing strategic and operational leadership on education initiatives. In February 2021, NJCU named Franco as the inaugural executive director of the Guarini Institute. Prior to his current role, Franco was an officer and director at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York where he supervised a portfolio of education and community programs.

Franco is a member of the Komansky Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Council. He has been a member of the executive and advisory boards of financial and education institutions. He graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and holds a Master of International Affairs and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Since 2022, Franco became a cancer dad when his son was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma.

Lucca Cordone

Program assistant

Lucca Cordone is an international student and soccer player from Manantiales, Uruguay. He started his student-athlete path at Keiser University in Florida and later transferred to New Jersey City University where he continued his degree in Global Business. He joined the Guarini Institute as a Student Assistant in order to pursue his passion for acquiring knowledge and helping people while doing so.

Joaquin Pluis

Program assistant

Joaquin Pluis is an international student from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He started his journey in the United States as a student-athlete playing tennis at Bethel College, Kansas. After his sophomore year, he transferred to New Jersey City University where he continued studying a bachelor’s in Political Science while working for the Guarini Institute at NJCU. After graduation, he would like to continue studying in the U.S. with the hopes of becoming a lawyer.

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