Life was not always easy for David Gottschalk.
During his 15 years in Westport, his daughter spent time in Norwalk Hospital. In 2010, his father and mother-in-law died of cancer.
Despite his grief — and his busy work at a hedge fund — in 2011 Gottschalk searched for a way to give back to the town he loves, and the hospital he relied on.
With the help of an accountant and lawyer working gratis, he formed a non-profit: KIDSovercancer. The goal was to buy iPads, for children in extended hospital stays.
Gottschalk did not realize that any technology donation must go through a rigorous approval process. “Kids will get in trouble sometimes,” he notes. “The hospital had to see a real purpose for iPads in their pediatric wing.”
Because they were new devices, the hospital added necessary protocols. Gottschalk was good to go.
His initial donations were to Norwalk, Yale, Danbury, Bridgeport, Greenwich and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospitals. Soon he added other states, including rural hospitals where youngsters may not have had access to technology before.
Gottschalk promised contributors that every penny KIDSovercancer received would go directly toward iPad purchases. There are no administrative expenses — not for shipping, IRS filings, nothing.
“It’s much more than entertainment,” Gottschalk notes. Hospitals use the iPads to teach youngsters about their illnesses, and as a distraction tool during small surgical procedures.
Eight years later, KIDSovercancer has sent tablets to over 56 hospitals, in all 50 states. An average of 100 children use the iPads a year in each hospital — a total of over 11,000 kids.
Gottschalk calls the project “the most satisfying thing” he’s ever done.
Of course, he can’t do it alone. He needs everyone’s help. Contributions to KIDSovercancer can be sent to: 606 Post Road East, Suite 515, Westport, CT 06880.