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.
Feb 13, 2017

Music From Her Heart

Veda is a charming young talent who is truly wise beyond her years. Both compassionate and polite, she’ll greet you with a handshake, a warm smile, and ask how you’re doing today.

This remarkable poise and grace has helped her face some daunting medical challenges in the past year. Last January, she started experiencing seizures and was placed in a medically induced coma for over two months. Tests eventually revealed leukemia—and thus began a grueling course of treatment that involved over 20 rounds of chemotherapy.

Throughout her journey, CCA’s in-hospital MyMusicRx Specialists were there to provide regular jam sessions that Veda always looked forward to. And when she started learning to play guitar, CCA bought her one of her very own. Last year, she even participated in CCA’s annual Bedstock music festival with her own soulful rendition of “Keep Your Head Up.”

Today, Veda is in the maintenance phase of her treatment plan and eagerly getting back to her favorite activities: writing, playing music, and especially singing. While she’s talented enough to pursue a career as a vocalist, her real passion is helping others—especially kids and animals. “I don’t like to think about kids or animals suffering, and I want to help,” she explained. “So I’d like to be a veterinarian or maybe start a nonprofit to help kids somehow.”

Veda was named a 2016 CCA Hero and was honored at ceremony in May alongside her family and friends.

CCA continues to deliver MyMusicRx to thousands of seriously ill kids like Veda across the U.S. and Canada, serving 5,300 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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Feb 9, 2017

Crossing the Finish Line

Seventeen-year-old Jacob has a contagious smile and a zest for life that is apparent the moment you meet him. He loves riding his dirt bike, running, cheering on the Portland Trail Blazers, and making others laugh.

Even during his long battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Jacob still managed to find the fun in a tough situation. During his many inpatient stays, he would wear silly costumes and make fun music videos to lift everyone’s spirits. He also enjoyed going to Blazer games with his Chemo Pal Tommy courtesy of CCA’s Link Program as well as gathering friends and family for a trip to the Caring Cabin. At the cabin they enjoyed s’mores by the fire, paddling on the lake, and then Jacob commemorated his stay by placing his memorial stone on the grounds at the cabin.

Throughout it all, Jacob says his strong faith helped him stay positive even when things got rough. “Getting sad or angry wasn’t going to help me get through the treatments,” he explained. “So I decided to always stay in good spirits no matter what.”

Now that his treatment is over, Jacob is back to running with his cross-country team and plans to study medicine so that he can be a doctor someday. “I want to be able to shed light on this disease and hopefully help other people,” he said. With his inspiring outlook, Jacob already has.

  • 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.
  • Link, a community network of caring people and organizations that provides wishes and unites local families with essential needs and connections to resources.
  • Chemo Pal Mentor® Program, an award-winning program that matches children and teens with trained adult mentors.
  • 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, led by MyMusicRx Specialists, includes bedside music and provides access to CCA’s digital music medicine program, MyMusicRx.org, which enables kids to play free music games, explore digital instruments and watch exclusive video song prescriptions from their favorite artists – whenever and wherever, 24/7.

Links:

Feb 9, 2017

The Healing Power of Friendship

At CCA, we know that for seriously ill children and their families, every moment is precious, and we’ve made it our mission to transform those moments with joy. When Blake was diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma kidney (CCSK) at just 2-year-old, CCA was there to deliver the healing power of friendship right to his bedside with the Chemo Pal® Mentor Program.

“When we first heard about the CCA and the Chemo Pal Program, I was honestly skeptical and sort of confused by it all,” said Blake’s mom Renee. “But after meeting Aunnah and finding out more about what the CCA is all about I have been changed.”

Having faced a difficult year of treatment and many days in the hospital, Renee was grateful that Blake had a trusted adult friend who could distract him with fun and games and ease his pain and anxiety.

“Aunnah is amazing and has become family, Blake calls her his other brother! Every visit with her turns into an adventure,” she said. “Aunnah is always focused on making Blake happy, and he is always bursting with joy when she’s around.”

After a long, hard fought battle, Blake is now in remission and was able to celebrate with his Chemo Pal and life-long friend.

Blake 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 5,800 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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