Committed to the Community

One in every 330 children in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer this year. With the right treatment, 70 percent of these cases can be cured. But for children who live in Reno, often times, the Biggest Little City isn’t big enough—children diagnosed in Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierras must travel to the Bay Area or Utah in order to get the much-needed treatment.

Not only are families dealing with the emotions brought on by a diagnosis of cancer, they must deal with the financial burden of both the treatment and the traveling.

To help ease these burdens, Dr. David Rosin and his wife, Barbara, established the Angel Kiss Foundation in Virginia, in memory of their grandson, Jarryd, who was diagnosed with leukemia. Jarryd had a birthmark on his cheek that resembled a kiss, and that led to the organization’s name.

After moving to Reno in 1994, the Rosins saw a need for a program similar to the one they created in Virginia. In 1999, the Angel Kiss Foundation was established here.

“Since April 2000, we’ve paid out to 20 families and have three more ready to go,” said Renate Neumann, the treasurer of Angel Kiss. “We receive a list from the parents or guardians with their most urgent needs. We have paid for car repairs, food, insurance premiums, heater repairs … you name it.

“We also try to get others to help out with these families’ needs. One time, we had a need for financial help with a power bill, so we called Sierra Pacific to request their help with the situation. They set up a plan with the family.”

The Angel Kiss Foundation also works with other resource centers to establish a system that will be able to better help these families.

“What we’re trying to do is to establish a network and eliminate overlapping and duplicating of funds,” said Kate Sweeney, the executive director of Angel Kiss. “We’re trying to deal with the people’s needs in the most timely and efficient way.

“We’re trying to fill in the gaps and network with other centers to meet each of the family’s needs. For example, when the families have to travel out of state, Ronald McDonald [House] provides gas coupons or money for lodging.”

The funding for the Angel Kiss Foundation comes through donations, grants, corporate sponsors and charitable giving. Neumann is also an artist who has donated prints of her painting of the Mapes Hotel to help raise money for the foundation. The prints cost $185, and the proceeds go directly to the foundation.

In order to buy a print or to get further information on the Angel Kiss Foundation, go to the group’s Web site at, or call (888) 589-5477.

—Meghan Polley