Chemo Pal Mentor Program Delivers Friendship

by Children's Cancer Association
Vetted

Elijah’s smile is a true definition of what joy looks like. It lights up his entire face and appears whenever he talks about his big brother Isaiah, his Chemo Pal mentor, Jack, or his favorite team on the planet, the Portland Trailblazers.

This good-natured teenager loves playing video games, watching sports, and taking road trips to anywhere sunny. He was recently able to visit Disneyland and like any typical teenager, sought out the scariest rides. “The Screamer was my favorite,” he laughed.

Elijah is fighting osteosarcoma with the same fearless spirit. It hasn’t been easy, but he says the support of his family has helped him get through the toughest times. “My family is my hero. They’ve stayed so strong through this, and that keeps me strong too.”

Elijah’s Chemo Pal, Jack, also shared his experience with the program. “I have had the honor of being a Chemo Pal with two amazing and courageous teens, over the past few years, who have brought me incredible joy and inspiration. I know that is what I am supposed to bring to them as a volunteer, and I am hopeful I have made a difference, but these two guys have undeniably enriched my life.”

Elijah, who was named a 2015 CCA Hero, 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.

Links:

2015 CCA Hero Asher
2015 CCA Hero Asher

Little Asher is a super friendly kid with a smile that’s guaranteed to melt your heart. He loves to dance, play with his siblings (all nine of them!), and sing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” song with anyone who cares to join in.

Asher was born with Down syndrome and diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at the age of 1. But even though his life is filled with tough treatments and long hospital stays, Asher’s mom, Sharonda, says he continues to bring joy to everyone around him. “He’s our little Superman”.

Besides the love of his large family, Asher also has the support of his Chemo Pal mentor, Brittany. The two were matched up last year and have been best friends ever since. “We’re so grateful for our Chemo Pal who has become a part of our family,” says Sharonda. “If there’s a bright side to this experience, it’s been meeting wonderful people like Brittany.”

Asher was named a 2015 CCA Hero and was honored at a ceremony alongside his family and friends.

Asher 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.

Asher and his Chemo Pal Brittany
Asher and his Chemo Pal Brittany

Links:

If you want to strike up a conversation with Xavier, just ask him about trains. This friendly nine-year-old will be happy to tell you everything you ever wanted to know, from the different types of engines to the history of locomotion. (It should come as no surprise that he wants to be a conductor someday.)

Xavier also loves wrestling with his cousins, watching The Discovery Channel, practicing taekwondo, and hanging out with his Chemo Pal, Ron. The two got paired up a year ago when Xavier was going through some tough chemotherapy to treat his lupus; they’ve been fast friends ever since.

“They have an incredible bond,” said Xavier’s mom Rebecca. “They go to barbecues together, Ron helps him with his homework – Xavier feels very blessed to have him in his life.”

Although Xavier’s disease will require him to take lots of medication for the rest of his life, he takes it all in stride. In fact, this compassionate kid even says he’s glad it was him and not some other child. “I’m pretty strong, so I can take it,” he explained. “I just choose to focus on the good stuff.”

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

Xavier 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.

Links:

Keaton has earned the nickname “Courageous Keaton” by maintaining his spunky, playful attitude no matter how tough things get. He was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at 11 months old and was diagnosed with a secondary cancer in 2014 when he was five. Although he’s spent most of his young life in treatment, his mom Sarah says he never complains.

Keaton has endured two bone marrow transplants: the first from his big brother Blake, and the second from his little sister Brooklyn. Because of his fragile immune system, he has to go long periods without seeing his siblings—that’s where his Chemo Pal mentor, John, comes in. “Having a Chemo Pal, someone to be a kid with him, has been such a gift,” Sarah says.

Keaton’s favorite activities with his Chemo Pal include building LEGOs, playing board games, and anything involving Batman. You’ll often find him in his front yard playing “superhero” and battling imaginary villains. (Bad guys, beware: Keaton plans on being a police officer when he grows up.)

Keaton 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.

Links:

Caoimhe has a personality that sparkles just as brightly as her big blue eyes. Her family had recently moved to Portland from Dublin, Ireland when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). A series of painful treatments followed—but even after weekly chemotherapy and 12 blood transfusions, little Caiomhe is still always ready for a friendly game of Twister or UNO.

Wise beyond her years, Caoimhe already knows what she wants to be when she grows up: a pediatrician. Until then, she gets plenty of practice working on her bedside manner with her brother and two sisters. “Sometimes we’ll feel scared for her during a procedure, but she always put us at ease,” says her brother, Darragh. “She’s the strongest girl I know.”

If you really want to see Caoimhe light up, play “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars. Her list of favorite things includes dollies, ranch dressing, and playing with her Chemo Pal mentor, Megan. They love doing each other’s nails and anything that involves glitter. Recently, Caoimhe finished her treatment and got to celebrate at her Chemo Pal graduation with Megan and a big balloon version of Olaf from the movie “Frozen.”

Caoimhe 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.

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, Oregon United States

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