About Hearts of Hope Network

We understand the struggles of caring for a critically ill child. We know how alone you can feel, even when surround by people who love you.  Our goal is to tap into the Hearts of loving people all over the country to offer love, support, and Hope to families suffering through the extreme hardships of caring for a critically ill child. We know this is not going to solve all their hardships, but we believe strongly in the power of Hope and love. We feel that people opening their Hearts with little displays of love and support during these times can help people find the Hope to move forward.

Our Story

How We Got Started

Like many charities, the Hearts of Hope Network started as a result of a personal tragedy. In November 1984, 18-year-old Tony Stickels was diagnosed with leukemia. After several rounds of extreme chemotherapy at Stanford Medical Center that failed, he and his family were told that the only treatment left available was a bone marrow transplant. At this time, the procedure was still very experimental. The only facility in the US that was doing these transplants was the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. The family quickly packed up, placed all their belongings in storage, and moved from the San Francisco Bay area to a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle so Tony could start his treatments immediately. Those who are or who have been engaged in such a battle understand that, at that juncture in your life, nothing else matters. The lives of all involved are completely consumed with overcoming the odds.

After 3 months of very intense, painful, and aggressive treatments, including more chemotherapy and full body radiation, Tony died on February 2, 1985.  After his death, his mother, Mary, and two brothers, Ted (20) & Chad (19), were devastated and shattered at having failed in their battle to save him. For years the family struggled to move on, slowly finding joy and Hope in their lives again.

33 years have passed, and Ted & Chad have married and have children and grand-children of their own. Never have any of them forgotten that sense of desperation and hopelessness they felt for years after Tony’s death. They continually looked for a way to honor his death in some way that would give it meaning.

That’s where Hearts of Hope began – with this family’s understanding of the desperation and hopelessness many families can feel during times of extreme hardship or tragedy. Mary, Ted, and Chad wanted to do something to show other families in similar situations that there are good people out there who love and care for them, even though they may never have met them before.  In this way, they felt they could help spread Hope in what seems like hopeless times.

Sometimes it is the simple things – the lawn that’s mowed, a house that’s clean, family pets being fed and walked and cared for.  Sometimes it’s a box of fun things or a bouquet of flowers, and sometimes it’s a prayer or a loving thought from someone. The small things done by neighbors, friends and even total strangers so they can focus on the overwhelming thing that consumes them, can bring Hope and comfort during the hard times they are facing.

Where We Are Now

This charity is just getting started! We have already built a lot of excitement and sponsorship around the idea. Our first two initiatives, Tony’s Hugs and the “I Can Help Network” are getting a lot of attention and already help people.

As we continue to launch our programs to support these families in need, we plan to expand our reach throughout the United States so we can help even more.


Our Mission is to offer love and support to families suffering through the extreme hardships of caring for a critically ill child. We want everyone in this situation to know that they are NOT alone during these trying times, and we want to open our Hearts to them and give them an outpouring of Hope in mankind.

The keyword for our organization is Hope. Without Hope for the future, we are lost. It is so easy during times of hardship and tragedy to lose sight of Hope. The Hearts of Hope Network is dedicated to helping people find their Hope, even during the bleakest of times.

Please open your Heart and help us to provide gifts of Hope and love to those in need.

Who We Help

After an application is received, our Hearts of Hope coordinators will determine if the situation qualifies to receive a gift. Basically, the requirement to qualify is any immediate family of a child who has been diagnosed with a critical illness. After a family is referred, Hearts of Hope® will work with the family and/or medical staff to verify qualifications and determine ways we can help.

Our programs are for the immediate family members of (or those living with) the critically ill child. In doing our research, we discovered that when it come to critically ill children, there are many charities and foundation out there that are providing services and/or gifts solely to the critically ill child. 

    While all of these organizations are great, and we really Hope you consider supporting them, we are targeting this issue just a little bit differently.

    Our experience is that the families of these children are also struggling and suffering. It is our desire to provide them with a little relief so they can go on with Hearts filled with Hope!  To qualify, the family must have a critically ill child under the age of 26 that they are supporting. That is it!

    How We Help

    Right now, we have three main programs under Hearts of Hope Network to help.

    Tony’s Hugs: Tony’s Hugs is the flagship program of the Hearts of Hope Network. This program celebrates the life of Tony Stickels by offering tangible gifts, “hugs”, of Hope for families that are suffering through extreme hardship or tragedy in caring for a critically ill child. Learn More

    Hearts of Hope Grants: These are small grants (gifts) we give to help with the little things that always seem to go wrong during these difficult times.  Examples of Hearts of Hope Grants include: 

    • Help with Rent or Car Payments 
    • Utility Bills 
    • Gas & Tolls 
    • House or Yard Work 
    • Care for Animals 
    • Help with Groceries 

    These are just examples of the types of things we help