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La Salle News

November 19, 2014

La Salle University Presents Signum Fidei Medal to Fred’s Footsteps for its Mission of Helping Families Care for Seriously Ill Children

Christine DiBona Lobley, Executive Director of Fred’s Footsteps (right) with the Signum Fidei Award, presented by Beth Harper Briglia (left). Between them is La Salle student Derek Marshall, whose family was helped by Fred’s Foosteps.
Christine DiBona Lobley, Executive Director of Fred’s Footsteps (right) with the Signum Fidei Award, presented by Beth Harper Briglia (left).

 

The La Salle University Alumni Association will present its Signum Fidei Medal to Fred’s Footsteps, an organization providing financial assistance to families of children experiencing serious health issues, on Nov. 14.

The Signum Fidei Medal derives its name from the motto of the Brothers of the Christian Schools—“Sign of Faith.” It is given to recognize personal achievements in harmony with the established aims of La Salle University and the objectives of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, and it is awarded annually to a person who has made “most noteworthy contributions to the advancement of humanitarian principles in keeping with the Christian/Judeo tradition.”

Fred’s Footsteps was created in memory of Fred DiBona Jr., who was President and CEO of Independence Blue Cross, one month after his death in 2005.

“On behalf of Fred’s Footsteps, it is a great honor to receive this award from La Salle University and to be recognized for our work in the region to provide relief to middle-class families who find themselves struggling to stay afloat while caring for a critically or chronically ill child,” said Christine DiBona Lobley, Executive Director of Fred’s Footsteps and Fred DiBona’s daughter. “We share with La Salle many of the same values, primary of which is community. We believe that when a child is sick, their family’s first concern should be how to love and care for them. Fred’s Footsteps provides a financial bridge, not just momentary help, to families in the Philadelphia region.”

According to the organization’s website, “We are the only program in the region that provides this type of bridge – not just momentary help – to families during their time of need.” It serves families in 19 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

AmyLynn Flood, Vice President of the Alumni Association and Chair of the Awards Committee, said, “The Alumni Association is proud to award the 2014 Signum Fidei Award to Fred’s Footsteps. For over 10 years, this nonprofit has been a true sign of faith for local families facing the greatest challenge of their lives—a child’s serious illness/injury. Fred’s Footsteps has demonstrated Lasallian values of faith, service, and community in their work and good deeds; and continues to pay tribute to Fred DiBona’s spirit of giving.”

Also speaking will be La Salle student Derrick Marshall, whose family benefitted from Fred’s Footsteps.

“In high school, I suffered a hemorrhage on my brain stem…my body gradually deteriorated, and I lost the ability to speak, I was also paralyzed on the left side of my body,” said Marshall. “I underwent brain surgery which left me visually and hearing impaired.  The doctors informed my mom that there was only a three percent survival rate.”

“My mom was visiting the hospital every day and … she had a very difficult time paying all of the bills for the house and my care.  That is when Fred’s Footsteps came into our lives, and my family was able to secure the necessary bridge funding to maintain our household,” said Marshall, who hopes to enter medical school and said, “My long term goal and dream is to start a pediatric health care network.”

An educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values, La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order. Money magazine named La Salle University a “Value All-Star,” ranking it the eighth-best college nationwide for adding the most value for a college education. Globally, the Lasallian educational network includes 1,000 schools (60 of which are institutions of higher education) serving 940,000 students in 80 countries.