Who is Holding Hope?
Holding Hope is a non-profit organization that was started to provide respite housing and support services for the families of children with life threatening illnesses currently being treated at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. Due to regular treatments, hospitalizations, and overall health concerns, many of these kids and their families are unable to escape routine to grow closer to one another, to laugh and play together, to relax, and to heal.
Holding Hope wants to come alongside these families and provide them with moments together to pause, relax, and rejuvenate as a family. We are working to raise funds to build a unique respite facility that will provide a therapeutic atmosphere where the family unit will get away from everyday stresses and pressures but still be close to home and the hospital to ensure peace of mind.
Jason, Chrissy, and Tyler
One of the most difficult things a parent can hear is that their child has a life-threatening illness. When the doctors sat Chrissy and I down and told us that our son, Tyler, had stage 4 T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, we were overwhelmed by feelings of fear and pain. From that moment, our lives were changed.
The first year of treatment proved most challenging – we're thankful for the strength that God provided us and the love from family, friends and some complete strangers. Tyler lost his strength from time to time,he eventually lost his hair, but the one thing he never lost was his positive, fun-loving spirit. We were grateful for Tyler’s positive attitude because the feeling of fear was often doing all it could to suck the joy out of our lives.
During Tyler’s treatment, we realized the importance of getting away as a family and reconnecting with one another but we struggled to find this time. When Tyler was being treated regularly, we were unable to travel too far from home and hospital. We were afraid to go too far away for fear that something would happen or he would suddenly get sick and need emergency care. He was also getting regular treatment which required us to be at the hospital at least once a week.
The need to stay close to the hospital forced us to stay close to home and made getting away next to impossible. When Tyler was healthier, and getting less chemotherapy, we were thankful for the organizations that provided opportunities for us to get away and find that much needed time with one another.
The idea behind Holding Hope was born during the time in our life when we couldn’t get away from home. We know many families, like us, are unable to find rest when their child is getting regular treatments. We also know that the stresses of regular family life don’t go away when a child is sick; instead, they’re amplified. For nearly two years now, we have been dreaming about providing a place for families to find rest who are unable to travel too far from Hershey Hospital. Holding Hope was born out of this dream and with your help, we look forward to seeing this dream fulfilled.
Meet the Board
Chrissy Derr - Executive Director
Jason Derr - President
Jason is the co-founder of Holding Hope. He currently works as a Special Education Teacher for the West Shore School District. He has previous work experience as a teacher in the Central Dauphin Schools and has served on staff as a Christian Education Director for a local church. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Mansfield University and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Development and Leadership from Shippensburg University. His passion for serving families of children with life-threatening illnesses emerged after his son, Tyler, was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. He presently resides in Etters, PA, with his wife and co-founder of Holding Hope, Chrissy, and his son, Tyler, who is a cancer survivor and more than two years off treatment.
Mark Miller – Secretary
After earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Mansfield University 9 years ago, Mark began his teaching career for the Mechanicsburg Area School District. He obtained a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Principal Certification from Shippensburg University. He excels in his roles as a teacher trainer and team leader at his school. He has a heart for serving others and is a strong advocate for his students, a key member for the Student Assistance Program, and a volunteer for his church. When he is not working, he’s spending time with his loving wife, Brooke, and his son, Blake.
Lori Deckman – Trustee
Lori Deckman is changed forever since her family journeyed through childhood cancer. She is a passionate mother of 2 boys, Caleb and Gabriel. She is a supportive wife to her husband-and love of her life, Michael. She has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Respiratory Therapy and currently works per-diem at Geisinger Wyoming Valley, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. During the time when her son was recovering from Wilms’ Tumor, Lori began making handmade wire wrapped jewelry which she is pursuing as a small home based business. She is devoted to God and her beautiful family. Lori and her family currently live in Mountain Top, Pa.
Teresa Lynch – Treasurer
Teresa is a Pa State Licensed Insurance Producer and is employed at a local State Farm Agency. She was employed at New Love In Christ Church for 3 years as the Financial Administrator for the organization(Church and Follow Me Child Care). Additionally, she volunteered as the Children’s Ministry Director at the church and was instrumental in community outreach events, creative ministry presentations and the spiritual growth of the children. She was employed at Select Medical for six years as the Senior Payroll Tax Analyst. She was responsible for spear-heading multiple projects in the department.
She has a strong relationship with the York Rescue Mission. She has been involved in Sonrise City and Family Fun Fest community outreaches , leading the game section annually since 2006.
Her calling to children’s ministry began in 1991 at River of God Church. The foundation of the passion she has for children and families began there, first as a Girls’ Ministry Sponsor for three years and then as Children’s Ministry Director for seven years. The connections grew quickly through community outreach, Kidschurch, Vacation Bible School and Kids’Camp. You will find some of the same kids still ministering in the church today as young adults both in the child care center and as volunteers in ministry.
Teresa has a passion and enthusiasm for children’s ministry that is contagious. She has been an inspirational leader to both the staff at the center and volunteer teams from the church and community. She continues to invest in the lives of others, endeavoring to make a difference wherever an opportunity presents.
Teresa and her husband, Scott reside in Perry County. They have three children and four grandchildren.
Adrian Stouffer – Trustee
Justin Frawley - Advisor
Telephone: (717) 982-8126
Address:325 Woodbridge Dr, Etters, PA, 17319
Telephone: (717) 982-8126
Address:325 Woodbridge Dr, Etters, PA, 17319