Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens

by Children's Cancer Association
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Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens
Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens

Project Report | Nov 4, 2019
Soothing Anxiety Through Nature

By Diana Szymczak | Director of Communications

Ana
Ana

Ana might seem quiet and shy at first, but beneath that reserved exterior is an outgoing 15-year-old girl with a great sense of humor and a genuine interest in getting to know everyone she meets.

Ana is passionate about soccer, kayaking, hip-hop, and traditional Mexican dance. She also has quite the artistic streak and loves creating entirely new looks with makeup. “I don’t think of it as ‘let’s look pretty,’ I think of it as art,” she said with a smile.

Girl, Interrupted

In December 2017, Ana had just started her freshman year of high school. She was eager to dive back into her favorite subject, math, and take advantage of everything her new high school had to offer. Instead, her world was rocked with a diagnosis of Desmoid Fibromatosis, a cancer of the connective tissue. Her days became filled with long hospital stays and difficult chemo treatments.

Soothing Anxiety Through Nature

Ana, like many teens battling cancer, was filled with feelings of anxiety and isolation. Feeling disconnected from her friends, and with a baby sister on the way, Ana longed to bond with other teens who could relate to what she was going through. That’s when she decided to take advantage of CCA’s NatureRx program. Specifically designed for teens and young adults in treatment, NatureRx offers fun outdoor adventures in a safe, supportive setting.

“NatureRx is so helpful because it’s for teens,” she said. “It means a lot to be around people who understand me—we can all relate to certain things even if our diagnoses aren’t the same.”

Snowshoeing’s Better with Friends

Ana’s first event was snowshoeing on Mt. Hood. She was nervous on the ride up to the mountain—but with snowshoes strapped to her feet and surrounded by supportive peers, Ana found herself in her element. She spent the mile-long hike encouraging other teens to keep going and offered support when anyone stumbled. She even found a new friend and they ended up talking non-stop for the remainder of the four-hour trip.

Ana had so much fun on that excursion that the very next month she returned for NatureRx’s cycling event, where the teens learned to make quick repairs on their bikes and then sweat it out at BurnCycle’s stationary biking studio.

A New Beginning—and a New Support System

Valentine’s Day of 2019 was particularly sweet for Ana—that’s when she learned that she had completed her last chemo treatment. It was a day she thought would never come. “When I began chemotherapy, they never said, ‘You’ll do it for a year, and then you’ll be done,’” she explained. “It was more like, ‘We’ll see what happens.’

Ana says having no end date made it hard to stay strong—but this fiercely independent teen is no quitter. “I would sometimes complain that I couldn’t do it for so long, and I was tempted to give up,” she admitted. “But I didn’t. I’m really proud of that.”

Now that her chemotherapy is behind her and her condition has stabilized, Ana is now looking forward to getting back to the life she left behind. She’ll be returning to high school, resuming her beloved math classes, and getting involved in extracurricular activities. When she does, she’ll be backed by a full cheering section of new friends from NatureRx who are rooting for her every step of the way.

As for her future, it’s filled with possibilities. But after her experience with serious illness, Ana says her career path is clear: she wants to work in a hospital so she can give back to other kids just like her.

Ana Snowshoeing with NatureRx
Ana Snowshoeing with NatureRx

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Aug 7, 2019
A Friend for the Entire Family

By Kelly Carmody | Digital Content and Social Media Specialist

May 10, 2019
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By Kelly Carmody | Digital Content and Social Media Specialist

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Organization Information

Children's Cancer Association

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @CCAJoyRx
Project Leader:
Children's Cancer Association
Portland , OR United States

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