Row4Kids fundraising event unites two foundations in the effort to fight childhood cancer - Libertyville Area Moms

Row4Kids fundraising event unites two foundations in the effort to fight childhood cancer

Written by: Melissa Tydell of Melrose Street Custom Content




What does rowing across Lake Michigan have to do with childhood cancer?


Here’s your answer: This August, Charles “Peanut” Tillman of the Cornerstone Foundation is teaming up with Jacob Beckley of the Beckley Foundation for an exciting fundraising event, Row4Kids. Former Chicago Bears cornerback Tillman and innovation executive Beckley will be rowing non-stop across Lake Michigan to raise awareness and funds to support critically ill children and their families.

The mission of the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundationis to provide opportunities and resources to children and their families who are in need. Since 2005, Tillman’s foundation has helped thousands of families affected by childhood illness. The physical, emotional, and social effects that these children and their families experience are excruciating. Countless hours spent in doctors’ offices and hospital rooms; a long journey on a rollercoaster of hope, fear, and frustration; the need for help with meals, housework, and childcare; the financial burden of hospital bills and loss of income while caring for a sick child—they all take a toll.


Photo Credit: Sonya Martin Photography

In 2008, Charles and his wife, Jackie, experienced this firsthand when their six-month-old baby needed a heart transplant. Their journey is the reason their programs make such a huge positive impact—the Tillmans truly understand the needs of families living in the hospital because they’ve been there. The foundation’s four main programs are: Charles’ Locker, Holiday Celebration, TendHER Heart Luncheon, and the Tiana Fund.

  • Charles’ Locker enriches the lives of hospitalized children and their families by providing access to portable DVD players, iPads, and Play Station video games to pass the time.
  • During the Holiday Celebration, Charles and Jackie spread holiday cheer to Chicago-area hospitals as they pass out gifts, visit and play games with families.
  • Each spring, the TendHER Heart Luncheon serves spring as a way to honor mothers of critically and chronically ill children.
  • The Tiana Fund program offers assistance to economically at-risk persons thatstrengthenstheir ability to care for themselves, improve their quality of life, and contribute to their community.

While the Cornerstone Foundation provides families in need with resources—without any restrictions of financial status or medical condition—the Beckley Foundation supports research to find a cure for childhood cancer, specifically neuroblastoma.

Recognizing their common focus on fighting the effects of childhood disease, Tillman and Beckley have joined forces to make a difference. This summer’s Row4Kids event aims to generate greater public awareness, increased funding for research, and more support for families touched by childhood cancer.

Learn more about the Row4Kids event and the work of these two foundations at Through the website, you can donate to the cause, check out photos of the boat construction, and get updates as Tillman and Beckley train and prepare for the Row4Kids challenge. Stay tuned for the final date in August, which is weather-dependent. There will be a party to watch this dynamic duo row in! With your support, we can make an impact in our community by fighting childhood cancer and helping families in need.

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