In 2008, the Orioles and OriolesREACH established Shannon's Fund, a $50,000 endowment at the University of Maryland Medical Center to provide financial assistance to hospital patients and their families. Created in memory of Shannon Obaker -- the team's Director of Community Outreach who bravely fought cancer for over a year before passing away in 2007 at age 29 -- Shannon's Fund is administered by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Funds are donated to patients and their family members as need arises to assist with the general expenses associated with the treatment process, including hospital parking, alternate housing, food costs and household bills.
People who knew Shannon knew of her passion for helping others, especially children and animals. In her role as Community Outreach Director, Shannon coordinated charitable donation requests, scheduled player appearances in the community and arranged special visits for sick children who wanted to meet their baseball heroes. The Orioles and the Obaker family believe that the most meaningful way to remember Shannon is to reach out to help others because that is what Shannon cared about most.
The Orioles will continue to contribute to the Fund via proceeds collected from future charitable endeavors and OriolesREACH initiatives.
Those wishing to make contributions in Shannon's memory can do so online, or make checks payable to Orioles Charitable Foundation and mail to:
c/o Orioles Charitable Foundation
333 West Camden Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Shannon's Fund has touched many lives at the University of Maryland Medical Center and continues to have an impact for its patients.
Because of Shannon's Fund:
– A 65-year-old cancer patient became too ill to work or live alone so she moved to Maryland to live with her daughter. Because of pending medical care assistance and due to her unemployment, she was not able to pay for the vital prescriptions she needed. Shannon's Fund stepped in and paid for her prescriptions so that she could continue receiving the care she needs.
– A 56-year-old breast cancer patient was unable to work and was awaiting a disability decision. Shannon's Fund assisted in providing transportation to and from radiation treatments 5 times a week for 6 weeks, as well as provided money for food.
– A retired 75-year-old cancer patient was prescribed a very expensive prescription that he was unable to afford, but was critical for his cancer treatment plan. He receives Social Security and Medicare but has no prescription coverage. Shannon's Fund assisted by paying for this prescription, ensuring that he received the proper care.
– A 52-year-old cancer patient planned to return to her home country after she received her cancer diagnosis. She had little income, no family in the U.S. and was ineligible for insurance as she was an undocumented resident. To aid in her journey home, where she can rely on support from family and friends, Shannon's Fund purchased pain medication to alleviate symptoms while traveling.
– A 90-year-old cancer patient needed 7 weeks of radiation after a double mastectomy; however, she had no family in the area to help, and therefore, needed transportation assistance. Shannon's Fund paid for cab fare to/from her home during her 7 weeks of treatment.
– A 62-year-old cancer patient was too ill to work and his wife recently lost her job, which provided their health insurance. His application for Medicaid was pending and he was unable to afford the cancer medications that were essential to his treatment. Shannon's Fund assisted with the cost of this medication, guaranteeing he received the care he needed.