Parents who lost child to cancer are helping others

No one can ever prepare for the words “your child has cancer.” A family who has gone through that is now working to help other families experiencing the same devastation.

The Anna Schindler Foundation exists to support families through those difficult times. They’re building Anna’s Homes on the South Hill, so families that need to travel long distances to get the care they need for their kids have a place to stay and one less thing they need to worry about.

The townhomes are designed specifically for families whose children are immuno-compromised and can’t stay in a communal location.

“We try to lighten the load for those families,” says Polly Schindler.

She and her husband, Joe, know what kind of load these families have. Back in 2010, their daughter, Anna, came up to them complaining of side pain. She was then diagnosed in January with stage four hepatoblastoma.

“Watching a child go through cancer is like having your heart ripped out because you are in control of nothing,” Polly says.

Through it all, Anna fought.

“She was always thinking of somebody else,” Polly and Joe say. “She would pray for the other kids on the floor.”

She fought for five months until she passed away.

But her legacy and her love are still felt. Polly and Joe say they’re blessed to be able to give forward in her memory. 

“It would be neat to see her reaction and what her love and legacy has done because she taught us so many things at just six years old. She's just an amazing gift,” Polly says.

The first phase of Anna’s Homes is expected to be finished by May or June. Polly and Joe thank the community for all their support. If you’d like to help the foundation, you can visit their website:

(story: Katie Chen,; photos: Polly Schindler)

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