Megan S. Ott Foundation

Megan S. Ott

The Megan S. Ott Foundation is the remarkable vision of Megan Snyder Ott. While she has not been with us to see the good works it has provided, it would not exist without her. Megan was a 32-year-old wife and mother who was pregnant with her second child when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The lovely Lauren Luann Ott was born into the family three weeks after Megan's diagnosis. The lives of Megan, her loving husband Tom, her 3-year-old daughter Katherine and baby Lauren all began the new journey of a family living with breast cancer.

Megan underwent chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, more chemo and more surgeries. Megan spent days and even an entire month at one point at Community Hospital North. With every setback, she remained strong. Cancer seemed to magnify all of Megan's best qualities, and tenacity was certainly one of them. She spent her last days fighting, planning and preparing not just for herself but for her family, her friends and her fellow survivors.

Knowing firsthand the difficult emotional, physical and mental anguish of fighting breast cancer, Megan envisioned an organization that would help families cope. Megan and Tom founded the Megan S. Ott Foundation in March 2010, one month before Megan passed away from breast cancer. Megan was 34. She left her husband and her two beautiful young daughters, and she left this foundation as her legacy to them.

The Megan S. Ott Foundation is a unique organization because it provides immediate personalized assistance to local recipients in the Indianapolis metro community. Working closely with Community Health Network and the great teams at Community Breast Care and Community Regional Cancer Care, the foundation offers monetary and sunshine support to local families fighting the day-to-day battle of breast cancer. It builds personal and supportive relationships with recipients. At the first meeting, recipients are given a basket of items Megan personally chose—items that gave her comfort during her battle and that she wanted to share with others. From the very beginning of the journey with these families, the foundation's volunteers recognize their strength and honor their courage, sharing the vision Megan inspired.

All of the grants are individualized to the needs of the family. In the last year, the foundation has paid utility bills and medical bills, provided Christmas presents for families, paid for a few vacations and set up spa days for mothers and daughters. The foundation also has helped with mortgage payments, rent payments, prescription drugs and back-to-school supplies for children. It also has provided weekend getaways, movie tickets, theater tickets, gift cards and even meals when needed. "Sunshine" is provided in the form of cards and phone calls. The foundation sends flowers to celebrate good news, and encouragement or simply support when the news is not good.

To ensure that the foundation is positioned to provide the necessary financial support to recipients, it hosts two fundraising events annually. On Friday, May 13, 2011, the first annual "A Night for Magical Moments" was held at One America Tower in Indianapolis. With the support of "title sponsor" Community Health Network/Community Breast Care, other sponsors and the 400 people who attended, the foundation raised more than $73,000 to support its work. On Saturday, October 15, 2011, the second annual Megan S. Ott Foundation "Kicking Cancer Again & Again" kickball tournament was held at the Field of Dreams in Noblesville. This family fun-filled event and dinner has been a great hit and the excitement builds every year. The goal of the foundation: "Our number one priority is to bring as much joy, happiness and laughter into their lives as possible." For updates on the foundation, "like" it on Facebook or contact: Megan S. Ott Foundation, P.O. Box 1372, Noblesville, IN 46061 or visit megansottfoundation.org.

—Claudia Davis, R.N., OCN, CBCN