Prescribe Joy to Seriously Ill Kids and Teens

by Children's Cancer Association

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:

Holly is a sweet, quiet third-grader who loves the color purple, practicing the piano, singing, riding her bike and playing board games with her parents and four siblings.

While trying to enjoy every last minute of her summer vacation, persistent ear pain led to a diagnosis of a rare form of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. Although Holly’s world suddenly filled with surgeries, radiation, and chemo, this brave young lady took it in stride. “I had so much help from my friends, my family, and my Chemo Pal Mandy,” she said. “They gave me the strength I needed to go on.”

During her time in the hospital, Holly’s musical skills were put to good use playing with the MyMusicRx team. In fact, she enjoyed it so much that she and her mom decided to perform in CCA’s annual Bedstock music festival. Her song choice? The very fitting “Fight Song.” She has inspired hundreds of people as she continued to perform this song for large audiences, earning standing ovations for her courage.

This young fighter is looking forward to finishing her treatments and getting back to normal life. She dreams of playing soccer, participating in gymnastics and attending 4th grade. Until then Holly takes life one day at a time and finds all the good and happiness that each day brings.

Holly 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 Holly 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.

Holly and CCA Founder Regina Ellis
Holly and CCA Founder Regina Ellis

Links:

Marcella is a courageous young woman who dances circles around her cystic fibrosis—literally. She loves to dance, everything from hip-hop and lyrical to jazz and ballet. Although her disease requires her to take a few extra precautions, she refuses to let it get in the way of her life.

“When something gets challenging, I just look at it as an obstacle to be jumped over. It’s so rewarding when I do,” she explained.

While she was in the hospital undergoing treatment, Marcella enjoyed working with the MyMusicRx team and became quite proficient on the guitar—so much so, that CCA’s Link Program hooked her up with her very own Yamaha acoustic guitar. And when she took up sewing, CCA stepped in again. “I was doing everything by hand,” she said. “So CCA got me a sewing machine! So far I’ve used it to make a few purses and a dress for my sister.”

Besides dance, music and fashion design, Marcella also has a passion for science. “I love all kinds of science, but I’m especially fascinated by how things affect the human body,” she said. “I definitely want to be a scientist someday.”

Marcella’s strength and positivity make her a hero in the eyes of her family, but she says it’s the other way around. “My mom is the real hero,” she said. “She works so hard and has always been there for me.”

  • Link, a community network of caring people and organizations that provides wishes and unites local families with essential needs and connections to resources
  • 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
  • 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:

Mason and his Chemo Pal Kiva at the luau
Mason and his Chemo Pal Kiva at the luau

Mason was a nine-year-old ball of energy with a personality as big as his heart. He loved sharing his toys, making people laugh, playing with his siblings, and watching Scooby Doo. CCA first came into Mason’s life shortly after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma in September of 2011. He was matched with a Chemo Pal Mentor, enjoyed visits from CCA’s MyMusicRx Specialists, and was even a proud CCA Hero in 2014.

Mason battled hard for four years before entering hospice. Wanting to fill his final days with joy, CCA’s Link program put together a final wish for Mason who wanted to see real hula dancers. While CCA couldn’t get Mason to Hawaii, we did our best to bring Hawaii to him. Mason arrived in style in a limo for a luau with his family, friends, and Chemo Pal, Kiva, in the Tiki Room at the Bamboo Hawaiian Grille, where they enjoyed delicious food, live music, and of course, hula dancers. CCA also gave him a Hawaiian shirt and his very own ukulele. Mason was all smiles and laughter through the evening, enjoying every moment with all his loved ones.

  • Link, a community network of caring people and organizations that provides wishes and unites local families with essential needs and connections to resources
  • 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
  • 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.
Mason and the hula dancers
Mason and the hula dancers

Links:

When we say that Joshua has a winning smile, we mean it literally – this cheerful little guy actually won a trophy at his school for having the best smile. His contagious grin lights up his entire face and delights everyone around him, from his family, to his teachers, to his medical team.

Joshua was born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. It keeps him confined to a wheelchair, but it hasn’t gotten in the way of his ability to have a good time. He loves teasing his two sisters, singing silly songs, watching cartoons, and going to the park with his dad.

He also loves Latin music and listens to it regularly on the iPad that he received from CCA’s Link program. “It’s so great,” said his mom Yoana. “We loaded it up with apps that are giving Joshua new ways to communicate with us.”

Yoana says her son’s positive attitude is an inspiration to everyone. “He’s very strong, and he never cries or complains. Usually people go through life grumbling about this or that, but not our boy. He goes through life smiling – and that makes him a hero to us.”

Joshua was recently named a CCA Community Hero and was honored at ceremony in May alongside his family and friends.

  • Link, a community network of caring people and organizations that provides wishes and unites local families with essential needs and connections to resources.
  • 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.
  • 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:

 

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Organization Information

Children's Cancer Association

Location: Portland, Oregon - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.joyrx.org/​
Project Leader:
Children's Cancer Association
Portland, OR United States
$265,012 raised of $500,000 goal
 
1,554 donations
$234,988 to go
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