Children's Cancer Association

When seriously ill children and their families need more than medicine, CCA's innovative programs create joy one moment at a time.
Mar 19, 2015

Joy Makeover

Last February, nine-year-old Jayden was in a terrible car accident in which her mother and twin sister were killed. She was facing a long hospital stay and the hospital staff thought a room makeover might bring this little girl a bit of cheer in the midst of such a difficult time. CCA sprang into action, first talking to Jayden to see what she liked, then transforming her room with a new comforter, One Direction posters, and pictures of her family. The “before” and “after” was remarkable, and so was little Jayden’s reaction when she saw it.

CCA’s Link program is a community network of caring people and organizations that unites local families facing serious pediatric illness with connections to local and national resources. The program helps families with specific, essential needs, from providing a child with a new pair of eyeglasses to granting the wish of a child with a terminal illness. Other CCA programs that prescribe joy to families with seriously ill children and teens include:

  • Chemo Pal Mentor® Program, an award-winning program that matches children and teens with trained adult mentors who provide friendship, diversion, and fun to kids undergoing treatment.
  • MyMusicRx, a one-of-a-kind music medicine program that lets “kids prescribe” the music experience that feels right to them. The in-hospital program includes bedside sing-a-longs led by trained music specialists, instrument lending from customized mobile music carts, concerts, and iPad and headphone check-outs. The online extension, MyMusicRx.org, is the only digital music program of its kind; it enables seriously ill kids to play and download free music games, explore digital instruments and watch exclusive video song prescriptions from their favorite artists – whenever and wherever, 24/7.
  • The Alexandra Ellis Caring Cabin™, a secluded home along the Pacific Coast, nestled in 24 acres of surrounding woods with plentiful wildlife and a serene lake, provides an essential health connection with nature and an extraordinary place for families to relax and create once-in-a-lifetime memories.

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Mar 19, 2015

Meeting His Match

The friendship and play of CCA’s Chemo Pal Mentor® Program is a big hit among younger pediatric patients, but can be a tougher sell to older teens. Last year, our Chemo Pal team received a referral for 18-year-old Greg, who seemed isolated, and was often alone in the hospital. The hospital staff thought he could really benefit from the program. Greg hesitantly agreed to be matched, and requested a mentor similar in age who would like playing video games. Clearly, Greg was asking for a friend.

Luckily, the team found John, a cancer-survivor who knows the loneliness and isolation of cancer treatment, and who was willing to brush up on his video game skills to connect with this special young man. Instantly, Greg opened up, and the two spent hours together throughout Greg’s treatment. And even though Greg has graduated from the chemotherapy treatments, they stay in touch and get together often. John isn’t just another adult in Greg’s life – he’s the friend Greg needed as an inspiring role model, and as motivation to successfully complete his treatment.

Greg is one of the 250 Pacific Northwest children and teens CCA’s Chemo Pal® Mentor Program has brought the joy of friendship in the past year. Trained Chemo Pal mentors have devoted 6,730 hours forging and strengthening friendships and family bonds, bringing diversion, fun, and activities to kids during their treatment. Chemo Pal mentors also give parents a much-needed break to grab a cup of coffee, talk with doctors, or spend time with their other children.

In 2013, Oregon Mentors awarded CCA’s Chemo Pal Mentor Program with their most prestigious award for mentoring excellence, recognizing the program for exceeding standards of excellence and quality.

With your support, we can match even more seriously ill children and teens with compassionate adults who offer supportive relationships throughout treatments.

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Mar 19, 2015

Music Is a Universal Language

When the MyMusicRx digital team first met Perlita, she was confined to bed and unable to communicate except by blinking her eyes – once for yes, twice for no. Still, she could laugh, and did so whenever her simple, binary language was misinterpreted.

By working with Perlita, her family, and physical therapists, CCA’s MyMusicRx program manager connected her to a range of exclusive artist videos and custom Pandora stations that could easily be accessed and bring a smile to her face despite communication challenges. Working together with a MyMusicRx Specialist who played ukulele versions of songs by the Black Keys and Taylor Swift while others in the room danced spastically, her smile turned into tears of joy. Perlita’s mother commented that she hadn’t seen her daughter laugh so hard in a long while.

CCA continues to deliver MyMusicRx to thousands of seriously ill kids like Perlita across the U.S. and Canada, serving 4,400 children in the past year. Trained MyMusicRx Specialists engage kids in bedside sing-a-longs, offer instrument lending for self-expression, and provide access to CCA’s digital music medicine program, MyMusicRx.org. Scientifically proven to help pediatric patients manage pain, boost immunity, and decrease emotional stress, CCA uses music medicine to heal.

With your generous donation, we can grow this program and spread the healing joy of music to more children, teens, and families.

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