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March 2017 Entry

Supporting a child in treatment for cancer

Jeff Kimball
Wilton · ct
Overview
What is your cause and how will it make the world kinder?

We provide direct, personal support to individual children who are in treatment for cancer and their families. Cancer treatment is isolating and scary - unimaginable for children, and difficult for families. Until no parent has to hear the words, "your child has cancer," we are there to provide support, from the day a child is diagnosed, and throughout the journey, wherever it leads. This kind of unconditional support is the embodiment of kindness because our 250 volunteers sit by the sides of families in the hospital, we conduct dream room makeovers for children when they are isolated during long treatments so they have something to look forward to, and we provide emotional and emergency financial support so they are not alone

How will you use the $10k?

We will use the $10,000 to provide 5 teams of 100 volunteers funds to do dream room makeovers for 5 children in treatment in Connecticut. We will buy paint, decorations, and items for a child's room that transform it into a personal wonderland, while providing a meaningful form of direct service for our volunteers. We will use the other half of the funds to provide direct emergency financial support of $1,000 to 4 families who literally face the choice of caring for their child or providing for their family. This year our support kept three families from becoming homeless while their child was in treatment. The remaining $1,000 will be used to provide food cards for families who need help getting food while their child is in treatment.

What impact do you hope to make?

We know from experience that we have a direct, positive and powerful impact on a personal level for children who are in treatment for cancer. Our room makeovers allow children, who are isolated, to fee the love and community support, and have a physical place they can control and find comfort in long after the work is done. Our financial support puts a floor on a crisis while a child is in treatment so that the family can focus on caring for their child, and have time to deal with the crisis. An analysis of our program shows that for every $1 given, we return $5.66 in services to the community. But most of all, our impact can be seen in the lives we touch. For those who have been impacted by cancer, nothing is more powerful than love.
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Other Details

We get an overwhelming amount of requests for room makeovers. Through this grant, we will be able to conduct 5 this spring. Teams will start to meet with children over the winter to gather ideas, plan the room, measure and develop plans and then work with the child who is in treatment to come up with a final plan. Then the teams will purchase items, start organizing and getting ready. Over the weekend of the makeover, the child stays out of the room, and the volunteers get to work. On Sunday, there is a big reveal, and while the physical transformation is complete, the emotional transformation endures. Meanwhile, families who are experiencing a hard time due to the treatment will reach out to social workers who work with us to provide help

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