Chemo Pal Mentor Program Delivers Friendship

by Children's Cancer Association
Vetted

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:

Blake and Will
Blake and Will

Blake is a sweet, 7-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, which requires a one year treatment schedule. Blake was having a tough time with his inpatient stays, so CCA matched him with a Chemo Pal mentor to help him get through his tough treatments. That’s when Blake was introduced to Will. For the first three months of the match, Blake didn’t talk because his mouth hurt so much due to his radiation treatment. Recently, when Blake was headed in for another long inpatient stay, Will had a little something up his sleeve to make it a little better. Blake is a huge dirt bike fan and his hero is famous biker Ryan Dungey. Will was able to work some magic and have Ryan Dungey send him a few things, including a jersey, that were personally autographed to Blake. Will then surprised him with it while he was inpatient.

After this experience, Blake’s mom shared these words with CCA: “Will has been a blessing to Blake. Will has gotten Blake to smile when none of us could. After a long break, Blake got to see Will again and it made his entire week better. I hope Will gets as much out of it as Blake does. I am looking forward to their relationship growing and the two of them doing more together as Blake starts to feel better.”

Blake is one of the 250 Pacific Northwest children and teens CCA’s Chemo Pal® Mentor Program has brought the joy of friendship to in the past year. Trained Chemo Pal mentors have devoted 6,823 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:

Ultimate Spider-Man fan, Brandon, and his Chemo Pal mentor, Cassie, recently celebrated the end of his treatment over cookies, LEGOs, and Hot Wheels. Cassie, Brandon, and his family formed close bonds throughout Brandon’s seemingly constant inpatient treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). While Brandon is happy not to be in the hospital as much, he will definitely miss seeing his friend regularly. But now that he’s feeling better, Brandon and his family have become regular participants in many CCA events, like our recent Four Days Fore Kids golf tournament where Brandon learned some putting techniques from golf pros.

Brandon 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 6,823 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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