October 15, 2014
Nothing is more heartbreaking than losing a child. Haworth, New Jersey native Carly Elizabeth Hughes was just two days shy of her 24th birthday when she was diagnosed with gastric cancer in October 2012. She fought the disease with determination and endured radiation, chemotherapy, and multiple operations before passing away on February 17, 2013.
So when Irene received life insurance money after Carly’s death, she knew she couldn’t simply keep it. She remembers saying to herself, “I can’t touch this money. I have to do something – I have to start a foundation and do something for children.”
When Irene and Tony moved to South Carolina, it was only natural that Carly’s legacy would follow them, and Irene soon found an additional way to share Carly’s love. While reading the newspaper, Irene learned the shocking truth that South Carolina is second in the country for domestic abuse, with women dying at the rate of one every 12 days as a result of abuse. “We looked at these numbers and thought, ‘We have to do something,’” Irene recalls.
Studies show that children who grow up in violent households are more likely to become abusers. Carly lived her life with a passion to help children. Today, her passion is being realized. “If we can get in there and help educate these children, we can make a real difference,” Irene shares. “I can do something for my community, and my country, and my daughter.”
From meeting educational needs in Mississippi to helping CODA citizens in South Carolina, Irene and Tony are, indeed, making a real difference. The Community Foundation of New Jersey is honored to partner in helping keep Carly Elizabeth Hughes’ love and legacy alive.