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Founder's Message

A reflection

Time or the perception of time is truly a bewildering thing. There are moments when seconds can feel like hours or days like weeks. Then all of the sudden months quickly turn into years and before you know it, in the "blink of an eye", a decade or more has past.

Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Maybe that’s what gives us strength or allows us the distance we need to get through the most difficult of times. But unfortunately, there is no amount of time or any amount of distance that can fill the emptiness or the hole that is put in your heart when you lose a child. That is eternal and never goes away!

The Joshua Kahan Fund was started in 1997 as a way to help us deal with our pain & grief after we lost our son Josh to leukemia. He was exactly seven weeks shy of his 3rd Birthday. Many years later, the Fund that bears his name, has become something we are all extremely proud of.


Our "Smiles" program was conceived from Josh’s smile. Its amazing how one of life’s simplest pleasures, a "Smile", brought such light and joy into our hospital room. More importantly, it brought us HOPE. It was for this reason our "Smiles" program was born. With the tremendous help we have received from the great folks at Sesame Place, we have been able to create one of the most heartwarming programs ever conceived. For the past 12 years, without cameras or fanfare, our Fund & the Characters of Sesame Street have been bringing "Smiles" to children in the Oncology wing at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Each child receives a special visit along with a toy & a picture so that they can remember their "Smile" that day. Words can not express the fulfillment you feel when you see a "Smile" appear on a face where there was none before. Our form of "Smiles" Medicine is our way of "making the difference" we are striving for.


A few years ago we expanded our "Smiles" program to include the CHOP Prom. This event has been called "one of the greatest events ever to be brought to Children’s Hospital". All of the children are invited regardless of their age. Each one of them is given a dress or suit, completely free of charge, to keep and wear on this special night. Salons are set up so that girls can get their hair and nails done. One by one, they leave their hospital rooms and make their way down a long, balloon-filled red carpet where they stop, "Smile" and have their picture taken. As they enter the cafeteria, which is transformed into a magical ballroom, they are greeted by waiters wearing tuxedos. Tables are dressed in fancy tablecloths and there is a ravishing buffet full of food, drinks and desserts!

Whether on crutches, in wheelchairs or with their oncology pole, on this very special night they all have one thing in common… no one is sick. They are all together "Smiling" with their families or friends by their side. The memories of these "Smiles" will last a lifetime.

Super Scooper "All-You-Can-Eat" Ice Cream Event

This is the largest annual ice cream party in the city of Philadelphia. Each year, thousands of people come to experience what can only be described as "true happiness". Where else can you choose from over 15 different Ice Cream & Water Ice manufacturers and more than 50 different flavors! During these past 12 years, more than 125,000 people have come though our tents and have eaten more than 25,000 gallons of ice cream. This equates to over 1 Million servings of frozen treats! Best of all, we have raised over $650,000 from this event alone.

Our Funding

Our Fund has been called the "fastest growing philanthropic organization dedicated to advancing the mission of the division of Oncology at Children’s Hospital" – and that was before we made an historic announcement at our 10th Annual Dinner Dance.

Ten years of "Smiles", hope and helping children with leukemia brought us to a very special point in time. That night, we committed $1,000,000 to create a permanent Research Chair solely dedicated to the purpose of finding a cure for pediatric leukemia. To show the importance of our donation, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia agreed to donate an additional $1,000,000. This $2,000,000 endowment was unprecedented at the Hospital and was above & beyond our earlier commitments of $10,000, $50,000, $100,000, and $250,000. Once completed, this new endowment will be used to fund the Joshua Kahan Research Chair and will give doctors and scientists more tools than ever before to help them find a cure for Pediatric Leukemia.


This past decade, the medical community has made tremendous strides in cancer research so that more children survive. However, even in today’s world, if a child is diagnosed with the form of leukemia Josh had, AML, their chances of survival are still less than 50%. Which is why we still need your help.

Our Commitment

These past years have taught us that commitment, passion and unselfishness can take you to places you can only dream of.

In memory of Josh and all the children like him who continue to fight for their lives on a daily basis, we promise you this - we will not stop, we will not falter, and we will not give in to tragedy. We will stay strong and we will stay committed in our fight against pediatric leukemia!

This disease must be stopped because when all is said and done, there truly is “no greater cause on earth… than our children”.

The Joshua Kahan Fund exists solely for this reason!

Jeff Kahan
Founder –The Joshua Kahan Fund