Meet the Fief family
In 2006, Albany resident Michelle Fief noticed that her 11-year-old daughter Gabby’s stomach was expanding at an astonishing rate and her local pediatrician referred her for specialty care.
“An ultrasound revealed that she had a huge mass on her ovary,” recalled Michelle. “It was producing fluid that filled up her abdomen. It turned out to be a cancerous tumor.”
In what could have become a story of heartbreak, today the Fiefs look back on the experience as a miracle that has changed their lives for the better.
“Gabby’s cancer was very rare, but it was removed without a trace of remaining cancer cells,” said Michelle. “She was back at school a week later with a couple of Band-Aids.”
Gabby’s healing may have been speedy, but the experience made a lasting impression on Michelle and her husband Tim. “
"There were so many children going through horrible medical situations,” said Michelle. “And many of those families were not only dealing with illness, but with financial burdens as well. We recognized how fortunate we were to not have those worries and that’s when we decided we wanted to be involved and help more.”
The Fiefs began discussions with staff at the Albany General Hospital Foundation about how they could support local health programs benefiting children and families. Donors since 2008, the Fiefs have become ongoing supporters of the InReach Program. InReach, which provides medical care to uninsured members of the community, is a lifeline for families going through medical issues without financial security.
“We heard about InReach when we attended the foundation Gala years ago,” said Michelle. “Supporting and volunteering for this program is now part of my life, my husband’s life and for all our children.”
In 2011 the Fief family helped host the Gala, which is the major fundraiser for InReach. Not only did they provide financial support and encourage their friends to do so, they shared their personal experiences with the gathering of 150 guests.