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Whatever It Takes? One U.S. family devoted to improving cancer treatment in Costa Rica: For the Haney family, fighting cancer in Costa Rica is a family affair.

If you’ve spent much time in Costa Rica over the past few years, their name is likely to be familiar in one of a few very different ways. There’s the official: S. Fitzgerald Haney served as the U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica from 2015 to 2017. There’s the sparkly and glamorous: After finishing his term as ambassador, Haney surprised many by joining the cast of Channel 7’s “Dancing with the Stars,” pairing with former world salsa champion Luci Jiménez and delighting audiences with his Spanish skills and good humor.

She was treated in Costa Rica and
became passionate about the challenges
many cancer patients face here.

There’s the personal: Partway through his turn on the reality show, Haney and his wife, Rabbi Andrea Haney, revealed that part of his motivation for appearing on the show was to raise funds to support cancer patients in Costa Rica, a cause that’s been close to the family’s heart ever since Andrea was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer around the time of Fitzgerald’s confirmation hearings in 2015. She was treated in Costa Rica and became passionate about the challenges many cancer patients, especially those from low-income families, face here. In late 2017, this led the family to create the Andrea and Fitzgerald Haney Donor-Advised Fund to Support the Ana Ross Foundation.

And then there’s the slimy: The Haneys’ eldest daughter, Nava, created her own business, Slimes Pura Vida, to raise funds for the Haney Fund and the Ana Ross Foundation. She capitalized on the worldwide slime craze and whipped up homemade slimes – sparkly, textured or scented globs of goo that kids love to smush, stretch and smack for hours – to sell as a fundraiser.

“At some points, I was really scared because I didn’t know if she was gonna make it through,” Nava says about her mom in a video she recorded to promote Slimes Pura Vida and encourage people to give back. “This fight doesn’t end with her… We have lost too many battles. Let’s not lose this one.”

While Slimes Pura Vida is no longer active because the family moved to Israel last month, the family’s commitment to Costa Rican cancer treatment and to the Haney Fund is very much alive. As an initial goal, the Haney Fund is raising money to support the Ross Foundation’s efforts to create the first-ever early cancer detection center in San José. According to Ross Foundation Director Fabiola Ross, the center will provide services for the five most common cancers in Costa Rica: breast, skin, cervical, prostate and digestive cancers.

The foundation seeks to raise $1 million for the first clinic in San Jose and expand to other clinics around the country.

“It is such an honor to collaborate with the Haneys and the Anna Ross Foundation in this effort,” said Emily Arnold, executive director of Amigos of Costa Rica, the U.S. counterpart of the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA) in San José. CRUSA houses the Haney Fund in Costa Rica, and Amigos of Costa Rica, a registered U.S. nonprofit, makes it possible for donors to make contributions to the Haney Fund that are tax-deductible in the United States. “Cancer has had a big impact on my own family, as it has many others, so this work has provided an opportunity to contribute to a cause I care deeply about.”

For more information about the Haney Fund or to make a donation, visit amigosofcostarica.org.

 

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