Learn more about the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce: https://carlsbad.org/.
On this episode of the Carlsbad People, Purpose, and Impact Podcast, Bret Schanzenbach speaks with Brad and Beth Thorp from the Mitchell Thorp Foundation. They began their foundation after their son, Mitchell, died from an undiagnosed illness in 2009. Now, they are leading the charge in supporting families who have children suffering from life-threatening illnesses, diseases, and disorders.
The Mitchell Thorp Foundation has instigated the adoption of medical procedures for children in the United States, and their efforts have prompted pharmaceutical companies to create groundbreaking medications for rare pediatric diseases. Certainly, the Mitchell Thorp Foundation has helped countless families and children through financial aid, medical assistance, and counseling. In this conversation, Brad and Beth Thorp talk about the story behind their foundation, share how the foundation has impacted so many, and discuss Beth’s upcoming book, A New Creation: Finding Meaning in the Midst of Tragedy, which is now available for pre-order.
Purpose from Pain: The Ripple Effect of the Mitchell Thorp Foundation
At the age of thirteen, Mitchell Thorp began a five-year battle with an undiagnosed illness that took him and his family across the country, looking for answers so he could overcome it. However, after five years of fighting the illness, Mitchell passed away in 2009.
9 months later, Mitchell’s parents, Brad and Beth Thorp, felt the Lord leading them to begin the Mitchell Thorp Foundation in order to help other families going through what they had gone through with their own son.
“We have learned to take the tragedy and to put it into something really inspirational, to help other families, and to be that light in the dark,” Beth says. “We go into hospital rooms and we want to be that light in the dark to let them know they're not alone. You will be taken care of. And then, most often the families are very open for prayers. We're very faith-based and we'll pray with them. We'll come alongside them, and we just make sure that they know that they are loved.”
Through their foundation, the Thorps are committed to helping families and children fight for a better tomorrow.
From its early days, the foundation has offered overwhelming support for families and children who have devastating diseases. In 2012, a family came to ask if they could help their daughter receive a cochlear implant so she could hear. However, the cochlear procedure was not approved in the United States for children under the age of 12, so the family asked if they could help raise money to have the surgery done in Italy. In response, the Thorps arranged for a 5k to raise the funds necessary for the procedure, travel, and lodging during the surgery. The Carlsbad community united to raise almost $70,000.
As a result, that family was able to take their little girl to Italy where the procedure was performed and witnessed by two doctors from LA who could continue to treat her when she returned to America. Now, this same surgery has been approved for children under 12 years of age in the United States.
Another incredible story that the Mitchell Thorp Foundation was a part of was with another family whose son had suffered with seizures since he was born. No one could diagnose his condition or provide a solution, so they came to the Mitchell Thorp Foundation. They connected the family with Ionis Pharmaceuticals, which mapped the little boy’s genes and are currently developing a drug that will help him, as well as others with the same genetic condition.
Transforming Tragedy & Making Memories
The Mitchell Thorp Foundation has four main programs: medical and home assistance, healing and rehab, conversion vans, and their youth leadership council. As soon as the foundation began, they rolled out medical and home assistance, which was families’ most urgent need. However, they also knew that families also needed rehab and healing.
Due to the stressors and hardships that come with having a child struggling with a life-threatening illness, many families suffer. In fact, there is a 50% divorce rate amongst couples whose child has a life-threatening disease. In response, the Mitchell Thorp Foundation set up counseling services for couples, families, and children in order to support and nurture the family unit. The foundation has a 100% success rate in keeping families together over the 13 years they have been in existence. Not only do they offer counseling, but the foundation also helps hire tutors for the siblings of children who have a debilitating disease, as their grades often suffer due to stress.
Another way the foundation helps families is by providing conversion vans. This program provides wheelchair accessible vehicles, so that families can more easily enjoy every moment they have together. Over the years, they’ve gifted families with five vans.
As the foundation has served those throughout the community and done events, many kids in schools have been eager to get involved. Through the Youth Leadership Council Program, the foundation offers a robust program that transforms youth into better servant leaders, as they serve alongside those in the Mitchell Thorp Foundation and learn leadership skills. The program has monthly meetings and runs throughout the school year, which allows the youth to assist with their Christmas programs and the Warrior Spirit 5K Run/Walk.
In fact, the Warrior Spirit 5K Run/Walk began when Mitchell was still alive, and now, it’s a staple event in the Carlsbad community, where everyone comes together to support the foundation and the families they help. Many of the families and children the foundation assists come to the event, which gives them an opportunity to thank their supporters and express what the foundation means to them. At the event, there are sky jumpers that open the ceremony, a live band and DJ, vendors, and more. The next Warrior Spirit 5K Run/Walk will be held on February 5th, 2022.
They also hold the Grand Slam Baseball Tournament in honor of Mitchell’s love for baseball. They hold it in September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, as 60% of the children the foundation helps have cancer. At their second annual Grand Slam Baseball Tournament this past September, 60 travel baseball teams participated and almost 3,000 people were in attendance!
If you want to get involved with the foundation, you can visit their website. Or, if you want to learn more or be encouraged from the Thorps’ story, you can pre-order a copy of Beth’s upcoming book, A New Creation: Finding Meaning in the Midst of Tragedy. Her book is currently available for pre-order and will be offered in stores in June of 2022.
“It's a book about our life,” she explains. “It's a story about love. It's a story about faith. It's about persevering through trials. It’s a story about having courage and how community comes around us, like they did. It's about forgiveness and it's about God's grace, His healing and restoration through it, even when we felt like He wasn't there along the way, but He was.”
Learn more about the Mitchell Thorp Foundation: https://www.mitchellthorp.org/
Reach out to Beth Thorp here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow the Mitchell Thorp Foundation on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FriendsofMTF
Connect with the Mitchell Thorp Foundation on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mitchellthorpfoundation/
Discover the Mitchell Thorp Foundation on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6EoVP0tQZhYY7_Ai_WROjw/featured
Check out the Mitchell Thorp Foundation on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mitchellthorpfoundation
Reach out to the Mitchell Thorp Foundation on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/mitchell-thorp-foundation
Did you like what you heard? This show is produced by Imagine Podcasting dba Heard Not Seen Media, Inc. For more, visit Imagine Podcasting here: https://www.imaginepodcasting.com/.