Compassion Can't Wait

Our Organization

To celebrate the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation’s 20th anniversary, we formally recognize the mission that we have implemented in the last two decades. ASRL was an expression of Valerie and Erwin Sobel’s desire to keep their child’s name alive. The event of their loss engendered this mission that has not changed:

“When compassion can’t wait and single parent families are in despair, we help with urgent expenses to allow these caregivers to stay at their child’s bedside during catastrophic illness.”

About Andre

Andre Sobel was a remarkable young man who had natural dignity, a promising future, and an unconventional sense of humor. Andre’s young life ended just one year after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was 19. He was the beloved son of Erwin and Valerie Sobel and brother to Simone.

Andre was well traveled, often seeking destinations that were frequented by his favorite authors, like; Rabelais, Samuel Beckett, St. Augustine and Franz Kafka.

The books Andre left behind were filled with his margin comments, underlinings, and asterisks, indicating his intellectual curiosity and burgeoning spirituality. But the finest of all his gifts were his qualities of mercy and compassion. To honor Andre and out of their deep love and respect for him, his family established the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation.

Erwin Sobel , his father died within a year of his son and their tragic deaths moved Valerie to help others who are going through what her family had to endure.

Andre Sobel Award

We are taking a one year pause from the Andre Sobel Award, and will return with the award in 2018-19. We are using this year to work on the book of essays from our Award winners and to secure a new group of sponsors so that we can increase the amount of award funds that are given. We invite you to return in the fall of 2018 to learn about the next cycle of the Andre Sobel Award.

This award was created to by Andre’s parents when they recognized how quickly this very popular boy experienced isolation from his peers. His solitude engendered great spiritual wisdom that transcended physical illness, the award was created to encourage young survivors to express themselves openly and help others whose illness was in the future, of what they would have liked to hear from their best friends during their illness. Young people are as short on words as are adults when it comes to the grave diagnosis of friend and family. These stories were to serve as a guide of how the person struck by illness would have liked to be spoken to.

While Andre was not able to pursue his plans for college and beyond, it is the intention of the Andre Sobel Award that winners use their award funds in any way they choose to fulfill a cherished dream.

The Award will continue in the year 2019 as a continued expression of and at the same time recognizing the roots of the organization and its origins.

Letters From A Friend

We welcome your comments, questions, and letters. Please share these letters with anyone who is ill and their families.

By changing our name to reflect what we do:

I Am Andre's Mother

I recognized the plight of others with dying children, sometime after my teenage son and husband died within one year.

When I asked the question, how much worse could any family’s tragedy be than the one my family has endured?

The answer to my question was so immediate as to be akin to an epiphany.

What if you were alone?

It was difficult even to imagine how a single parent without emotional, financial, and physical support could survive the experience I had to … it seemed untenable.

This awareness was the bedrock of the

One can be only at one place at one time…and my place was by my child for the 417 days of his critical illness. At no point did this tragic time felt like I was living a luxury…but in time I realized that others who had to work, to keep the health insurance intact, have food on the table and a roof over their other children’s head, staying with their child would be a luxury.

This than became our mission statement:

When single parent families are in despair, we help with urgent expenses and this allows these parents to stay at their child’s bedside during catastrophic illness.

After assisting 13.000 families the is celebrating its 20th anniversary with formally recognizing what we have practiced all along…and changing our name to Compassion Can’t Wait

By offering help within a 24-hour turn-around time, we remain the leading organization that supports the large population of single parents with catastrophically ill children. If you are a struggling single parent family, whose only wish is to stay at the bedside of your seriously ill child, but you face serious financial challenges in order to do so, have your social worker contact us at

If you are moved by the plight of single parent families whose only wish is to spend time with their dying child, please make a donation. Our promise to you is that it will be in the neediest hands in the quickest time that we can turn it around – 24 hours. We will send you a case assistance report of families recently assisted, so that you will know your gift is put to immediate use.

Our organization has donated $8 million plus, and with your help we will continue help others.

Andre’s Mother on behalf of all of us at

Please know that our endowment covers our administrative costs and overhead, allowing your funds to go directly to families.