It's always fun to watch the progression of a long-term Chemo Pal match, and this week we did just that. Jacob and his 3+ year Chemo Pal, Ryland Stucke, celebrated the end of treatment, but definitely not the end to their close friendship. Thank you to our dedicated group of Chemo Pal mentors and to supporters like you who continue to make this program possible!
Being a teenager diagnosed with cancer can be very isolating. Long days and weeks spent in the hospital, months of treatment, it’s a challenge keeping up with school, much less having a fun social life. So when 13-year-old Paloma met her Chemo Pal mentor Jinli, it was exactly the medicine Paloma needed.
Paloma and Jinli immediately hit it off when they first met. With their love for arts and crafts, they created dozens of Play-Doh animals, beaded jewelery, and origami animals.
Since that day, they’ve become great friends. Paloma’s mom says “Jinli has made such a difference in Paloma’s life by being there for her. We could never put it into words.”
Jinli too has benefitted from the relationship. “ Paloma’s courage is so inspirational and Sheree is the epitome of a mother’s love for a child. I have really come to love this family.”
For now Paloma is focused on battling her cancer, and the future looks bright for her. And with Jinli at her side, there’s a lot to look forward to!
Thanks to supporters like you, the Chemo Pal program served 250 families this year, a 22% increase from last year.
Please consider continuing to support us battle fear & isolation for teens like Paloma through CCA’s Chemo Pal program by making a gift on Wednesday, October 19th when GlobalGiving is matching all donations at 30% up to $1,000 per donor per project.
Eight-year-old Ella loves horses, music, baseball and the BBC series Dr. Who. She successfully completed the second grade with flying colors, and her intellect, attention to detail and positive attitude are an inspiration to many.
Ella is also bravely battling lymphoma. After years of monitoring undiagnosed medical issues, she was taken by ambulance to Seattle where a biopsy confirmed what her family dreaded—cancer. When Ella completed her first round of treatment and returned to Portland, she was introduced to CCA’s Chemo Pal program. Her Chemo Pal Kim stepped in to save the day by providing a sense of normalcy and steady companionship despite her ever changing treatment regimens and hospital relocations.
When Kim visits Ella in treatment, they play with Legos, games and create a whole new world outside of the hospital with Potato Heads! Last month, Kim and Ella maximized on Kim’s background in art by spending time imagining and drawing up Dr. Who scenes as part of the CCA Wishes on Dishes project. Ella’s mom shared that, “Ella was very excited to hear that Kim would be joining her for their first art project together. Kim has been one of the few consistent things in Ella’s life since her diagnosis. It’s a great match.”
Amos is a strong, smart four-year-old boy who isn’t afraid to take control of any situation. In January 2008, Amos was diagnosed with leukemia, leaving Amos’s mom, Maria, to face her biggest nightmare. Maria remembers, “I fell to the floor – we never imagined it could be cancer… how could this could happen to our family? After radiation, chemotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant, we realized we couldn’t do it alone. We got Amos a Chemo Pal from the Children’s Cancer Association, and their friendship changed our lives.”
Normally, it takes Amos a while to warm up to new people, but there was an instant connection when he met his Chemo Pal, Mary. At that time, he didn’t speak English very well and Mary didn’t speak Spanish, but that didn’t stop these two! They spent their visits playing trains and Legos, while Amos repeated the words he had never heard before meeting Mary like “okey dokey” and “giddyup.” They loved seeing each other so much that they started racing to see who could get to the hospital first.
Although Amos is very brave, his trips to the hospital for treatment scared him. Having Mary there helped ease Amos’s anxiety about treatments. Maria explains, “It helped to have Mary there because he would get excited to see her, which would keep his mind off what the doctor had to do next.” One day during a particularly painful treatment, Amos asked Mary to stand next to him and hold his hand. Their bond was evident in that special moment and it was clear that Mary would be a part of Amos’s life forever.
We are proud to share that CCA Community Hero Danny and his Chemo Pal Ray were recently honored with the “Mentor Match of the Year” award by Oregon Mentors. Danny and Ray have been matched through CCA's Chemo Pal program since October 2009 and since then have become great friends. Both avid sports fans, they can often be found watching ESPN and chatting about their favorite teams—including the Portland Trail Blazers! Danny says that Ray is a welcome distraction during long hospital stays and painful cancer treatments. Thank you for your continued support providing the power of friendship to kids & teens like Danny!
For more information on the Chemo Pal program call 503-244-3141 or email office@JoyRx.org
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Vice President, Development