Aaliyah appears to be your average starry-eyed seven year old. She loves to make friendship bracelets, dance to her Wii, and hang out with her older sisters. But this little girl has experienced things that most kids won’t in a lifetime. She’s endured six tough rounds of chemo, keeping her in the hospital for nearly a year battling Anaplastic ependymoma, a brain tumor in the brain stem.
Aaliyah’s family hasn’t been able to do a lot of the things other families can do. So, a getaway to CCA’s Caring Cabin was just the thing they needed most – an opportunity to breathe the fresh coastal air, walk through the woods, eat S’mores, and create special memories together with aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Aaliyah’s mom, Yesenia shared, “Economically, you cannot do a lot of things other families can do. We are really excited that we get to do this, we are really thankful for the people who made it possible too.”
“Ignite your light and let it shine” are lyrics from Aaliyah’s favorite Katy Perry song. And shine she did during her adventure vacation at the Caring Cabin.
More than 40 family members like Raquel’s visit CCA’s luxurious Caring Cabin hideaway in a typical month. This free adventure helps restore the energy and hope kids 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, 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.