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.
Jun 1, 2015

A Restful Retreat

Fynn, diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia a month before his fourth birthday, is now six years old and in the maintenance phase of treatment. He loves animals, especially dinosaurs and sharks, and he is obsessed with transformers. Fynn and his family recently had a special weekend away at the Alexandra Ellis Caring Cabin™ and shared some of their experience in a journal entry at the cabin.

“We just wanted to say a huge thank you for our wonderful weekend at the Caring Cabin! What an amazing place! We loved placing Fynn's stone together as a family. We found the stone of our Chemo Pal's previous buddy, Grant. Fynn knew that they both shared Ed, Chemo Pal to both the boys, and Fynn decided their stones should go together.”

More than 40 family members like Fynn’s visit CCA’s luxurious Caring Cabin hideaway in a typical month. This free adventure helps restore the energy and hope kids and their families need to battle their illness over the long haul. CCA understands that play can sometimes be the thing that’s needed most.

The health benefits of nature are scientifically proven to decrease anxiety, stress, and depression, and have been noted to boost the immune system to fight cancer. For pediatric patients, the Caring Cabin, nestled in 24 acres of surrounding woods with plentiful wildlife and a serene lake, provides an essential health connection with nature and healing.

Other CCA programs that prescribe joy to families with seriously ill children and teens include:

  • 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

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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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