Career Keepers Cares

CareerKeepers will donate 3% of every fee we receive directly to each of these incredible non-profit organizations. Please read below to find more information about each organization and how you can volunteer, donate and attend upcoming events. 

CareerKeepers & Cal’s Angels Story

Our CEO, Michelle Somenek, started her journey with Cal’s Angel’s in 2016 when she wanted to honor a friend of the family’s Grandson, Donovan, who was fighting Leukemia at the young age of 1. She was able to get her local Elementary School involved and they honored Donovan raising money, getting volunteers to shave their heads in honor of him and assisting the planning committee to put together an amazing event at the local High School. Because Donovan was so sick he was unable to attend the parade and event, so Michelle did a Facebook live stream and launched the hashtag “Dab For Donovan” asking for everyone in the community to Dab for Donovan, who was watching us march in the parade from his hospital bed. Every Dab in St. Charles, IL was for Donovan that day.

Donovan lost his battle in March of 2017, shortly after this event and just shy of his 3rd birthday. Michelle, and everyone at Cal’s Angel’s, will always remember the incredible smile on Donovan’s face when he saw kids and adults shaving their heads in his honor and dabbing for him during the parade.

Michelle was touched again when she learned that her best friend lost her daughter October 28th, 2011 to HLH, a very rare form of cancer. Noelle was 6 weeks old.

These stories, and so many others, are why Michelle is passionate about finding a cure for pediatric cancer and being there for the kids and their families that are fighting this disease. Together we can and will find a cure for cancer.

Each year Michelle teams up with Cal’s Angel’s to set up their annual “Just Shave It” event at St. Charles North High School where kids and adults shave their heads in honor of those fighting and those that got their wings.

Did you know?

● 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer.
● 43 children per day or 15,780 children per year are expected to be diagnosed with cancer.
● More than 95% of childhood cancer survivors will have a significant health-related issue by the time they are 45 years of age. These health-related issues are side-effects of either cancer or more commonly, the result of its treatment.
● Cancer is the number one cause of death by disease among children.
● Since 1980, fewer than 10 drugs have been developed for use in children with cancer. Only three drugs (Teniposide and Clofarabine, and Unituxin for use in high-risk neuroblastoma ) have been approved for use in children. Only four additional new drugs have been approved for use by both adults and children.
● The average cost of a stay in a hospital for a child with cancer is $40,000.
 Only 4% of federal government cancer research funding goes to study pediatric cancer.

Different Kinds of Cancer

Brain tumors can be low-grade, which tend to grow more slowly, or high-grade with faster growth rates and more commonly spread into normal brain tissue. There are several rare types and sub-types of pediatric brain tumors.

Astrocytomas are the most common type of childhood glioma, a type of brain tumor. Like all gliomas, astrocytomas consist of glial cells, which form the connective tissue of the brain. Astrocytomas can occur in both the brain and spine; but most often occur in the cerebellum (the part of the brain that coordinates movement and balance), optic nerve and in the brainstem. Anaplastic astrocytomas are a more aggressive type of astrocytoma.

Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor (AT/RT) is a very rare, fast-growing tumor that commonly starts in the kidneys, the brain and spinal cord or other soft tissues of the body. While AT/RT can occur in adults and older children, it usually occurs in children aged three years and younger. About half of these tumors occur in the cerebellum (the part of the brain that controls movement and balance) or the brain stem (the part of the brain that controls breathing, heart rate and other vital life functions).

Brain stem glioma is a type of brain tumor that is found on the brainstem, the part of the brain that controls vital functions like blood pressure and breathing. While this tumor type originates on the brainstem, it can also spread to other parts of the brain or spinal cord.

Choroid plexus tumors (CPT) are rare tumors that begin in the ventricles of the brain. Often, CPTs can block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid within the ventricles. Choroid plexus tumors can be benign or malignant. Subtypes of CPTs include choroid plexus papilloma (CPP), atypical choroid plexus papilloma and choroid plexus carcinoma.

Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) is a rare tumor of the brainstem that occurs almost exclusively in children. The tumor appears in the delicate area of the brainstem, called the pons, which control critical body functions like breathing and blood pressure. The tumors infiltrate healthy brain tissue, causing severe symptoms.

Kidney cancers are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cell form in the kidneys. There are several types of pediatric kidney cancers including Clear Cell Carcinoma Rhabdoid Tumor, Renal Cell Carcinoma and Wilms Tumor. Wilms Tumor is the most common form of kidney cancer in children.

Clear cell carcinoma is a type of kidney cancer. This type of kidney cancer is extremely rare in children, accounting for approximately 2 percent of childhood kidney cancers.

Wilms tumor is the most common form of childhood kidney cancer. It most often occurs in one kidney; although it can be found in both kidneys at the same time.

Childhood leukemia is a cancer that starts in the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow. Leukemia is most often found in the white blood cells; but it can develop in other blood cell types. It is the most common form of childhood cancer and there are several types and sub-types.

Childhood acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the myeloid cells that form white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets. AML is the second most common form of childhood leukemia.

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is also known as chronic myelogenous leukemia. CML begins in the blooding-forming cells of the bone marrow. It is most common in adults, but can occur in children.

Lymphoma is a term that refers to cancers that start in the body’s lymphatic system, which includes lymph nodes/glands, thymus, spleen, tonsils, adenoids and bone marrow. While other types of cancer can spread to the lymphatic system; lymphoma always begins within the lymphatic system.

Burkitt’s Lymphoma is the fastest-growing type of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It causes the cells in the lymphatic system to abnormally grow, eventually causing tumors. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system and includes the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, bone marrow and lymphocytes, a specific type of white blood cell. Tumors are often found in the abdomen, live, spleen, jaw and other organs.

Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of lymphoma defined by the presence of a specific type of cancerous cell called Reed-Sternberg cells. Like all lymphomas, Hodgkin lymphoma originates in the lymphatic system.

3% of every fee we receive will go directly to Cal’s Angels to grant wishes, raise awareness & fund research to help kids fight cancer. 

Big Hearts of Fox Valley NFP is a charity organization dedicated to brightening the lives of underprivileged children in our community and in school District 303. We’re committed to identifying and coming together to meet social, emotional and basic needs of those around us. Staffed entirely by volunteers with the assistance of local individuals, families, businesses and local government.

Big Hearts of Fox Valley & CareerKeepers Story

Michelle Somenek became involved with this organization before they were even established back in 2014. During a PTO meeting she met Minor Mobley who is the owner of Excel Automotive in Saint Charles, IL. Minor and his family had a vision of helping children in need within the school that their children were attending and wanted to help bring Christmas to families that were unable to do so themselves. With the help of the school district and social workers they were able to grant Christmas wishes for hundreds of children. It was at the first wrapping event in 2014 that the Mobley family, along with many others within the community including Michelle herself, realized there is a huge need not just within the school, but the entire school district. For the past 5 years the Mobley family, along with the assistance of the community, has been coordinating this wrapping event to help underprivileged children in School District 303 via gift wish lists they receive directly from those kids. In 2018 we helped provide gifts for 443 children and in 2019 we will have at least 600 children to provide gifts for. Michelle Somenek recently joined the Board of Big Hearts of Fox Valley as the Board Secretary. “It is an honor and a privilege to be serving my community within an organization that really does care. What they are providing for the children in our schools is incredible and I look forward to serving as a Board member and being part of this journey with the Mobley family and all of the other members and volunteers of Big Hearts of Fox Valley”. ~ Michelle Somenek

3% of every fee will directly to Big Hearts of Fox Valley 

Our mission is to provide sanctuary for forgotten, unloved, and un-cared for animals in the form of foster homes.

It is our goal that the foster home serves as a temporary placement until a proper forever home is found. We aim to provide education about pet care and an understanding that pets are a lifetime commitment. We promote population control by spaying and neutering our pets as well as requiring resident pets to be sterilized prior to adoption.

Our current focus is dogs and cats and occasional small creatures.

Little R&R Sanctuary & CareerKeepers Story

Michelle Somenek has always had a passion for helping animals in need and in 2015 she began to foster dogs within her home along with her own 2 furry babies, Waffles and Oreo. In 2019 she was introduced to Little R&R Sanctuary from her best friend who adopted her dogs from this organization. Michelle immediately fell in love with their story, their passion for helping dogs & cats as well as their foster and adoption process, which is very thorough. Although she has been with them for a short amount of time, she has hit the ground running taking in puppies at 7 weeks old up to 4 year old dogs. Unfortunately her 2 pups do not get along with cats, so she is restricted to only assisting the dog community right now. “People ask me all the time, ‘Is it hard to give them up after fostering them? How do you do it?!’. To those questions I always say this, ‘Yes it is hard. I cry each and every single time I let a foster of mine go, but it is harder seeing these innocent dogs being put down every single day’. When I foster I get to save 2 lives. I save the life of the dog I am fostering and the life of the dog who now has a spot inside a shelter rather than the streets or in a un-loving home. I encourage everyone to please adopt and do not shop. Together, we really can save them all and I truly hope someday there is no longer a need for me to foster because it would mean that there are no more animals left behind or given up.” ~ Michelle Somenek

Waffles & Oreo

3% of every fee we receive will go directly to Little R&R Sanctuary to help provide homes to animals as well as assist in providing the care necessary for these animals.