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
Caitlyn is a fun-loving, bubbly 14-year-old, who is everyone’s friend. Her mom says she is “definitely a teenager” who loves to text and listen to music. Caitlyn has colon cancer, which is the third type of cancer she has had since her first diagnosis at 15 months old. She is used to putting on a brave face to get through tough times. However, with her Chemo Pal Amanda, she has a friend to stand beside her. When Caitlyn met her Chemo Pal, she was in the hospital going through a painful procedure. Amanda walked right up to her bed and they started gabbing like they had known each other for years. “We can talk about anything and everything. It’s really cool to have someone there that wants to be with you and sits with you while you are in the hospital. Also, we get to do outings outside the hospital, which are just so much fun,” says Caitlyn. Their most recent outing together was a big surprise for Amanda. While she was out at dinner with friends, Caitlyn and the KATU Channel 2 news team snuck up on her and presented her with an “Everyday Hero” award for her life-changing work as a Chemo Pal. Amanda really appreciated the honor, but can’t understand what all the fuss is about. “I just love, love hanging out with Caitlyn. It’s been wonderful getting to know somebody in her teen years who I can connect with and have a conversation with…it’s been great.”
Since July 2010, the Chemo Pal Program has proudly matched an additional 33 children and teens with a Chemo Pal Mentor and has seen an overall program growth of 54 percent.
Thank you for supporting the Children's Cancer Association Chemo Pal Program. Because of your generosity, hundreds of children and teens undergoing treatment for cancer are matched with a compassionate, trained adult mentor. For a child facing yet another painful treatment and a lonely day at the hospital, a caring friendship goes a long way.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
Vice President, Development