NJCU’s Guarini Institute to Hold Panel Discussion June 11 for Launch of brokenNotBroke Portal to Provide Access to Financial Support of Pediatric Cancer Patients

June 2, 2024
Guarini Institute logo (800x460)

JERSEY CITY, N.J. | The New Jersey City University (NJCU) Guarini Institute for International Education and Economic Mobility will launch the portal brokenNotBrokewhich facilitates information on financial support to pediatric cancer patients, and hold a virtual panel discussion on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 from 1-2 p.m.

The webinar will discuss the impact of childhood cancer on the financial stability and economic mobility of families and communities. The brokenNotbroke.org portal was developed by the Guarini Institute at NJCU and offers access to information about 450 organizations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, dedicated to providing financial aid to pediatric cancer patients.

Adrián Franco, Ph.D., the Executive Director of the Guarini Institute at NJCU, said: "Families of children diagnosed with cancer are emotionally broken and, in many cases, also endure financial ruin. Recognizing this pressing need, the Guarini Institute at NJCU has meticulously curated a database featuring over 450 nationwide organizations committed to extending financial support to pediatric cancer patients. Through the user-friendly portal, BrokenNotBroke, we aim to streamline and expedite the process for families and social workers to access vital information about these organizations. Our north star is to shed light on the profound economic toll of childhood cancer on families and mitigate this burden by fostering meaningful connections between patients and the resources available."

During the event, NJCU Interim President Andrés Acebo will offer a welcome and Dr. Franco will provide an introduction to the brokenNotBroke platform. 

During the discussion, Theresa Segui, Executive Director of Ocean of Love, will provide insight on the financial challenges faced by families impacted by childhood cancer. Michelle Fritsch, the Cancer Coordinator for the Texas Children’s Cancer & Hematology Center and President of Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers (APOSW), will lead a conversation on navigating the challenges of securing financial assistance for families affected by childhood cancer. Michael Prilutsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jersey City Medical Centerwill present dialogue on the economic impact of chronic illnesses like childhood cancer in communities. After a Q&A session moderated by Dr. FrancoMussab Ali, Director of Vote16USA, will extend closing remarks.

The brokenNotBroke 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. 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.

Nationally, families impacted by childhood cancer experience significant monetary shocks,  which the brokenNotBroke portal aims to combat. Depending on the length of the treatment and the socioeconomic status of the family, impact ranges from draining assets like retirement funds and college funds to bankruptcy and eviction, excessive debt, and unemployment.

A study by the National Children’s Cancer Society notes that 25 percent of families lose 40 percent of their income as a result of treatment. A third of parents and caregivers will lose their job or change jobs as a consequence of the diagnosis. Furthermore, data shows that 10-15% of families who were not considered poor prior to cancer diagnosis fall into poverty as a result. On average, hospitalizations principally for cancer cost nearly five times as much as hospitalizations for other conditions.

Families of children diagnosed with cancer are confronted with numerous and long-term expenses that have a significant effect on the financial stability of the household, including health-related costs (hospital expenses, medicines, and insurance deductibles), and consequential expenses such as childcare of siblings, transportation to medical centers, and housing accommodations. 

According to Children’s Cancer Cause, thousands of families and caregivers experience childhood cancer in the U.S. each year.  About 1 in 285 children will develop cancer before the age of 20, and there are currently approximately 500,000 childhood cancer survivors in the United States. Per data available from 2018, 17,293 children were diagnosed with cancer in the United States — approximately 47 children per day.

Those interested in receiving an invitation and link to the webinar can contact Dr. Franco directly by emailing AFRANCO@njcu.edu

About the Guarini Institute for International Education and Economic Mobility
Launched in November 2020, the Institute’s mission is to create novel tools to facilitate the economic mobility of individuals and families experiencing financial hardship. Its vision is that financially vulnerable individuals and families have access to relevant information and resources to improve their upward economic mobility. The Institute has previously facilitated formal agreements between NJCU and the Mexican Government, higher education institutions in Ireland and the Port of Ashdod in Israel. In November 2023, the Guarini Institute advanced an MOU partnership between NJCU and GLACO — Grupo Latinoamericano de Cónsules en New Jersey — an alliance made up of 17 Latin American consulates, to explore ways for NJCU to collaborate with the consulates, and thus will, strengthen both institutions' commitment to serving Hispanic communities in New Jersey.

About NJCU: 
New Jersey City University is a comprehensive public regional institution of higher learning located in Jersey City, N.J., dedicated to the development of our students, our city, our communities, and our state. We are a game-changing force for our students and have been recognized as one of the top colleges in the nation improving their upward economic mobility. In fact, NJCU has been ranked No. 1 in New Jersey and Top 10 in the nation in the CollegeNET Social Mobility Index for 2023. Whether enrolled in one of our undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral programs at our three locations, NJCU students have access to an affordable, diverse environment, and an exceptionally supportive faculty. This prepares them to go on to become the next generation of workers and leaders who improve their communities and the State of New Jersey.


Ira Thor, Associate Vice President for University Communications | ithor@njcu.edu | 201-200-3301