Feature Stories

Helping Military Families in Illinois through Fisher House

May 25, 2018

Each month, a team of Astellas employees from the Military Employee Resource Group travels to the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital Fisher House in Hines, Ill., to cook dinner and spend the afternoon with families staying at the facility. 

A Fisher House provides free housing for the families, caregivers and loved ones of veterans who are receiving medical care at the Hines Veteran Affairs (VA) Hospital. To stay at a Fisher House is free-of-charge; however, families pay for their own living expenses.

“Every time I cook a meal at the Fisher House, I get more out of it than I ever give,” said Stacie Cornfield, senior executive representative I, Hospital, Sales and Marketing, and one of the organizers of the volunteer activity along with Ken Foster, senior MAP specialist, Marketing Operations. “The residents are so very grateful to come back to the house and be welcomed with a home cooked-meal after a long day at the hospital. It is extremely rewarding!”

Stacie and Ken have been organizing the monthly visits to Fisher House with small groups of Astellas volunteers for four consecutive years. In fiscal year 2016, the team hosted 12 events—with 25 Astellas employees participating in total—making a meal or a financial contribution that helped feed a total of about 300 residents.

“It’s been especially rewarding to see our team of Astellas volunteers help more military families throughout the years,” said Ken. “In some cases, we have helped the same family that has stayed at Fisher House on multiple occasions.”

Joining the team this year were eight members of the Clinical Trial Data Disclosure department, as well as family members of the volunteers.

“With the support of the Astellas team, our Fisher House families are able to focus what’s most important—their loved ones,” said Holly Wright, director, Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital. “In addition to the meals, our residents enjoy the conversation and time spent with the Astellas volunteers.”

Living SMART™ is the Astellas approach to preparing communities today for what can happen tomorrow. The Living SMART framework brings together the strength of the charitable Astellas USA Foundation and our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work to find the areas where we can make the most impact to improve lives. Astellas USA Foundation and Astellas CSR collaborate to create a positive impact on society through three overarching focus areas: health and well-being; Science WoRx (STEM education); and disaster response. To read more about Living SMART, see the Astellas Americas Corporate Social Responsibility Report Card.