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Michigan nonprofit reflects on mission after reaching $1 million donation milestone

Livingston County charity reaches major milestone
Livingston County charity reaches major milestone 02:06

Mark Howell, the founder of Fund a Life, needed help himself. Just a week after his son was born, Howell had a football-sized melanoma removed from his body. 

"The community got wind of all of that and really just started, kicked off a fundraising effort on behalf of us and they raised $200,000 over the next 18 months, and it literally funded my life," Howell said. "I mean, if you name a cancer clinic I have definitely been there."

The money gave Howell and his family access to second opinions and new treatments for his stage four diagnosis. In 2015, Howell created Fund a Life. The organization has since provided $1 million in 96 grants to community members who need it.

"When I got through that journey to a point where I felt pretty good, I thought something like this should exist for other people," he said. "Maybe I have a unique network of people just because of where I live and what I've done with my life that I can leverage to help other people."

For some, the money is used for specialized equipment, funding new treatment, or even helping families with funeral expenses. Like Robert Roszell and his family-- Robert was diagnosed with ALS and was able to be a recipient of Fund a Life and pay it forward. 

"Our grant was a $10,000 grant which helped them get an enhanced handicapped accessible vehicle that was going to enable Robert to still get around with the family," Howell said. "Their current step-down vehicle they were using, they found another family that could use the vehicle that had ALS, and they donated that van, and it was just kind of a ripple effect, and it's really what Fund a Life stands for."

Fund a Life operates with its own fundraising and donations. You can fill out an application through its website. A panel of volunteers takes a look at those applications and grants that funding. 

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