Matt Guidarelli, a junior biological science major, said a woman named Rosemary inspired the giving spirit in him.
Rosemary had multiple sclerosis and a brain tumor in her frontal lobes. She was preparing to head in for open-heart surgery when she asked her surgeon – Guidarelli’s grandfather – to call Matt because she had a gift for him.
The young Guidarelli obediently came to her bedside for the gift. The woman pulled from her wrist a plastic bracelet that read: “Hope.”
“She said, ‘Remember this when you’re a physician,'” Guidarelli said. “I hope you too can give hope to people like your grandfather has given hope to me.”
He is now raising money to give that hope to children whose parents are not able to pay for health care.
He founded “Hope in One.”
The group will be selling white plastic bracelets with the words”Hope in One” for $5 a piece to benefit the Denver Children’s Hospital. They will be at the flea market area across from the bookstore from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.
“Philanthropy is a learned behavior,” Guidarelli said. “My grandfather was the most recognized neurosurgeon in Los Angeles. He would waive bills for those who couldn’t pay.”
Guidarelli’s vision for “Hope in One” is that it would expand nationally, so bills could be waived across the country in the midst of dramatic increases in healthcare costs.
“Every child deserves to live a healthy life and experience a youthful spirit,” he said.
Currently, there is no organization that directly provides enough money to cover the cost of healthcare in Colorado. Lower and middle class families will not be overlooked based on their income.
Meaghan Mercer, a junior biology and microbiology double major, and Sean Wren, a junior biology major, have been working with Guidarelli to sell bracelets and plan fundraising.
“The economic standing of the patient is not going to be looked at,” Mercer said. “For now the children’s hospital will be choosing (the candidates)”
Guidarelli has been astounded by the generosity of people. The same people he intends to give money to are the ones trying to give.
“It’s amazing that so many families give their lives up for their children,” he said. “They work the grave yard shift and work over time. They are struggling financially but still want to give.”
For more information about the group, go to www.hopeinone.org.
Staff writer Emily Lance can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.