Most people in Cincinnati have seen the large blue and yellow Lamar Advertising billboards for The Dragonfly Foundation that have been on display over the past few months. The simple, one-word designs exist for one simple reason—to remind “Dragonflies,” patients and families battling pediatric cancers, that they are not alone.
Since 2010, The Dragonfly Foundation has worked closely with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to provide emotional, relational and practical support to patients and families. The organization is moving its headquarters to Uptown to be closer to the medical center. In September 2018, Dragonfly purchased the Hauck Heine House, a historic mansion on Oak St., from the Mayfield Clinic. The house is currently undergoing renovations to develop offices and family-friendly spaces while also restoring the house to its original look and finish.
“We're excited to be part of the renaissance in Uptown,” said Ria Davison, co-founder of Dragonfly. “At the same time, we are really excited to preserve and protect this architectural jewel. That’s really important to us.”
Once complete, the new location will offer a variety of spaces for its patients and families to enjoy, including a music room, internet café, video conference center, dining room and respite rooms. The staff hopes to move into their new space this summer, but more work will need to be done before it’s family-ready.
Dragonfly aims to create a community to support its families. Co-founders Christine Neitzke and Davidson understand the toll extended and emergency hospital stays, treatments, and medical bills have on families, even after patients are given a clean bill of health.
“Just because someone is out of the hospital doesn’t mean the patient—or the family—is out of the woods,” said Davidson.
One of the many ways the foundation supports patients and families is through events, large and small. Last year, Dragonfly hosted more than 300 events, such as Kings Island outings, Reds games, Thanksgiving and holiday dinners, and weekly luncheons. Many Dragonfly families face emotional, physical and financial challenges that make outings difficult, so the organization creates opportunities for families to have fun and relax. Dragonfly accepts spare tickets that people aren’t using—to sporting events, theater productions, art exhibits and more—that can be given to families. They even have a ticket donation hotline that people can call at 513-609-4758.
Davidson hopes the foundation’s new location will further increase their sense of community with the proximity to Cincinnati Children’s and downtown and with nearby amenities in Uptown.
“We want to encourage people to take advantage of all the wonderful things in our community,” said Davidson. “Uptown is a pretty exciting place to be.”
There are many ways people can get involved with The Dragonfly Foundation to help support its mission and its “Dragonflies.” According to Davidson, they’re always looking for volunteers and sponsors. They also need support to finish the house’s renovations and to meet program needs.
For more information about The Dragonfly Foundation, including how to get involved, visit www.dragonfly.org.