HOISINGTON — For nearly 25 years, the Kans for Kids Fight Cancer Foundation, led by founders Deb and Duane Reif, has helped Golden Belt families of children with cancer diagnoses find ways to cope with the ups and downs of treatment. They’ve celebrated the wins, and felt deeply the losses right alongside these families, as they’ve reached out to the communities in their service area to consider ways they can help their friends and neighbors in need. And until this spring, they’ve done it from their kitchen table. All that changed earlier this spring, and on Thursday, Deb and Duane Reif, their children and the board of Kans 4 Kids threw open the doors to their new headquarters located in a historic Hoisington building at 169 S. Main Street and welcomed the public in for a look at their new home.
Kans for Kids was founded by the Duane Reif family in 1994 after the Reif’s children began collecting aluminum cans to help with the medical expenses of a 9-mos-old cousin diagnosed with cancer. The effort caught the attention of the community, and the family realized they had stumbled upon a need they could fill. Since then, they’ve raised over $500,000 by recycling aluminum cans, as well as from memorials, fund-raisers and donations. They’ve helped 26 children living with cancer. A photo quilt hung on a wall, filled with the images of children they’ve helped, providing a focal point that tells the story of what Kans for Kids strives to keep at the center of its purpose.
“This is an exciting new chapter for Kans for Kids,” Deb Reif said. “It feels like home.”
Inside, a welcoming sectional sofa taking up nearly the entire front room of the office was filled with children and teens, while individuals admired the many photos of Kans 4 Kids events and the clients and survivors they’ve worked with over the past quarter-century.
Reif’s husband, Duane, prefers to do his work behind the scenes, but took a moment to talk about the grand opening.
“After one year, we’ve never dreamt that anything like this would ever happen,” he said. “It’s just so awesome to see all these people turn out and help us mark this moment,” he said. “It’s very rewarding for us to know all the families.”
As the mid-morning crowd from the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce coffee arrived, everyone was ushered out to line up in front of the building for a photo, and Kans for Kids ambassadors Kaito Richter and Kadin White accepted the honor of holding and cutting the ribbon on the new office.
The organization will host an open house exclusively for Kans for Kids families on July 10, since many were unable to attend Thursday’s event because of work obligations, Reif said.
The office will be open to the public and clients during regular business hours throughout the week. Kans for Kids welcomes the public, and looks forward to continuing to share their mission.