Learn how Oscar Ortiz turned his family's heartbreak into a foundation to help others with childhood cancer

Crowe Recruiting
| 4/19/2018
Turning personal heartbreak into something positive can often help ease the pain of loss. On December 29, 2016, Oscar Ortiz (Miami) lost his son, Sebastian, after a 14-month battle with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer. "There is nothing worse one can endure than the loss of their child," said Oscar. "We continue to try our best and work through the days as we grieve our loss." One of the ways he and his family are channeling their grief is through SebastianStrong, a foundation they started to honor Sebastian's memory and to fulfill their mission to increase awareness of childhood cancers. "Since Sebastian's passing, we've become acutely aware of the special challenges kids with cancer face," explained Oscar. "Children's cancer research receives less than four percent of the National Cancer Institute's budget for cancer research, and since kids represent roughly only one percent of new cancer cases annually, there are also limited resources and efforts from the pharmaceutical industry to find a cure. Because there are such limited resources to pursue cures for childhood cancers, supporting foundations that are focused specifically on childhood cancer research are critical if we are to be successful in our efforts to find a cure."

The foundation held its first fundraising event in June 2016, raising $87,000 to fund childhood cancer research. In November 2017, the foundation hosted the Childhood Cancer Awareness 5K. The event included a 5K walk/run and a casual gala. "The overall goal of the weekend was to continue to raise awareness and funding for research to find a cure for childhood cancer, but at the same time, we wanted people to have some fun and honor Sebastian's life," Oscar said. Many Crowe colleagues rallied around Oscar by providing monetary support for the fundraising events, as well as volunteering to help with registration/check-in and staffing the water stations during the 5k. Oscar and his family are grateful for the tremendous support Crowe has provided during this difficult journey. "I want to thank my Crowe family, and there are many of you," shared Oscar. "You are truly friends that I'm fortunate enough to work with. I am so thankful you gave me the flexibility to spend the time I needed to be with Sebastian throughout his battle. I know it sounds like it's what any organization would have done, but I lived it. I never missed a single chemo treatment or hospital stay." For more about the foundation or childhood cancer, visit the SebastianStrong website.

To learn more about the volunteer efforts at Crowe, visit the Crowe Foundation page.