Saturday, January 21, 2012

Children with Cancer -- Searching for Support

As an adult cancer survivor I'm often asked how organizations such as the American Cancer Society and other major organizations help children with cancer. It's a question using posed by the parent or someone close to a child who has had cancer or is dealing with a cancer diagnosis. When this happens, my heart immediately skips a beat.

Children should never have to deal with a terminal disease and yet, as we all know, life often hands out a diagnosis of cancer, sickle cell disease, hemophilia or other rare childhood disease. To simply say "it's not fair" is an understatement. I lost a five-year-old cousin to brain cancer. I've never forgotten because my daughter (and a cousin she never met) were the same age. No parent should ever have to hear the words, "Your child has cancer." Those words are devastating -- horrible -- beyond comprehension. Unfortunately, children with cancer exist. And, what is being done to help these youngsters and their families?

I know that the ACS (either directly or via grants) does research on all types of cancer. I also know they have a variety of patient programs including ROCK Camp.  (Reaching Out to Cancer Kids) If you visit the ACS site, you can also access other information pertaining to services available as well as research underway. I'm including several listed on the ACS site:

Locally (in the Orlando, FL area) there is B.A.S.E. Camp. The acronym stands for Believe, Achieve, Support and Educate. Per the brochure I recently picked up during an area event, the term base is a mountaineering term "for the shelter at which to stop and rest before striking out to scale another cliff." The organization feels that children and their families with these various diseases are dealing with "mountains" within their lives.  The local group, which is affiliated with the national Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, offers a variety of programs including:

*Jr. B.A.S.E. Camp Kids - a monthly day outing for youngsters six and younger
*The Attraction Ticket Program - providing free days at area attractions for kids undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments
*Fishing for Kids with Cancer - A chance for children to experience a day fishing with their parents

Monthly and yearly programs are offered. To learn more about this organization and how you can either help or receive help -- call 407-673-5060 or go to:   The Program Director is Terri Jones-Robbins and I'm certain she will be happy to hear if you can offer assistance or wish to donate .. and if you have a child with cancer, please call and see how B.A.S.E. Camp can help your child or teen.

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