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Raquel Rohlfing, a single mom in Boston, was on hand with her 7-year-old son Mikalo, who was diagnosed with leukemia at 18 months. She quit her job to care for him full-time, landing in a homeless shelter before a hospital connected her with Family Reach.

“They said, `Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it.’ They relieved a lot of the burden that I could not do. My role was to hold his hand and get him through it, and just take care of him.”

After a relapse, Mikalo required a bone marrow transplant and a year of home isolation, something that couldn’t happen in a shelter.

Of the debate over health care reform, Damon said, it would be difficult for anyone to ignore the needs of families struggling with a sick child after meeting just one.

“You would have to be enormously hardhearted in the face of something that personal,” he said.

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Follow Leanne Italie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/litalie

Family Reach Foundation website: http://familyreach.org