September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness month. In honor of that, I want to share with you my absolute favorite childhood cancer charities and organizations that help in so many ways.
Over the years I have worked with several different charities, both personally and for donation and volunteering. I have a few favorites, just based on the help I was given and the help they give directly to the childhood cancer community.
LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY
I have worked directly with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for several years for their Light the Night Walk. I have walked with my family in Las Vegas, Nevada and in Tempe, Arizona. I was an honored survivor at the 2012 Light the Night Walk in Tempe, Arizona. I was able to speak to all the sponsors and families at the kick off night for the walk. It was a wonderful experience being able to share my experience with Leukemia and being surrounded by others that have been through similar experiences.
The mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
LLS exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. We are the voice for all blood cancer patients and we work to ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients.(1)
The two main fundraisers for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society every year are the Team In Training Marathons and the Light the Night Walks. Find one in your area and register yourself and your family today! Help find a cure for blood cancers!
CANDLELIGHTERS FOR CHILDHOOD CANCER
When I was going through my treatments for Leukemia, this organization was an amazing. They have local chapters all over the US.
Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada “Candlelighters” is a non-profit agency that provides support and services for families of children diagnosed with cancer. Children from birth to 21 years of age who have been diagnosed with cancer or who have survived cancer are eligible for services if they are living or being treated in Nevada.(2)
We attended several events held for children with cancer, fundraisers and volunteered in the office. The organization helps with support, help with medical bills and help for bereaved families. We worked directly with them for years and my mom volunteered with the board to help other families as well.
Candlelighters sponsored my family to go to Disneyland EVERY year until I turned 18, so they are behind my slight (ok….totally REAL) obsession with that place. They helped out with a lot of our medical bills, and thank heavens, because the medical bills for saving your child’s life are truly astronomical.
I will always have a special place in my heart for this organization. There is a chapter in Tucson, Arizona and I am going to see if there are some things I can do for them. If they were not two hours away, I would definitely be working with them as often as I could. Thank you Candlelighters for all you do for families and children with cancer.
These are the websites for the local, Arizona chapter and the Southern Nevada chapters. You can do a Google search to find one in your area and go volunteer to help them out!
MAKE A WISH FOUNDATION
This organization will ALWAYS hold a very special place in my heart! I love what they do and what they stand for! The entire goal of this foundation is to put a smile on the face and in the heart of a child battling a life threatening disease. They grant wishes!! Amazing! I’d love to meet the person that started Make A Wish and give them a huge hug.
When I was in the hospital, I was blessed enough to be granted a wish from Make A Wish. You can read about that story here, in my post called The Time I Was Too Sick to Meet Michael Jackson.
Make A Wish has chapters all over the country. If you are looking for a great organization to donate time or money to, this is a fabulous one! They have orientations for volunteers and can train you to actually go out and help grant a wish for a child, or you can donate money to help the cause. Go check out your local chapter and see how you can help today!
Also, every year in the month of December, Macy’s has a giant, red mailbox in each of its stores. You can have your child bring their letter to Santa and place it in his mailbox at Macy’s, and they will donate $1 for each letter they receive directly to Make A Wish. It’s fun, festive and a great way to teach children how to give back to other children at the holidays.
ALEX’S LEMONADE STAND
Alex Scott was an adorable little girl that was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma shortly after her birth. When she was 4 years old, she held a lemonade stand in her front yard and donated all of her $2,000 earnings to help fight childhood cancer. Thus, Alex’s Lemonade Stand started.
When Alex passed in 2004, her foundation had already raised $1 million!
Since 2004, ALSF has helped researchers, scientists and doctors get closer to a cure than ever before, raising over $127 million to fund more than 650 research grants. (3)
They hold several events all over the US to help fundraise and they also have an online fundraiser during the month of September every year. People can log into their account and log their miles to raise funds for Alex’s Million Mile. Last year more than 15,000 people joined this cause.
Go check out the website and find all the local events in your area, the ways you can donate money or even host your own lemonade stand.
THE MAGIC YARN PROJECT
This beautiful, tug at your heartstrings organization was founded by two moms in their homes. Holly, an oncology nurse, started what she thought would be a small project and she and her friends started making crocheted Princess wigs for little girls battling cancer.
To this date, they have shipped and donated more than 950 wigs to girls in over 20 countries.
To help with this amazing organization, you can do a few things. One donate money. 95% of the money goes directly to the items needed to make the wigs and the other 5% goes directly to funding research for childhood cancer.
If you would like to do more, you can crochet some hats and wigs yourself, or attend a workshop hosted in Utah. If you don’t live in their area, you can be trained to host a workshop in your area and get other women involved to crochet these gorgeous wigs.
There is nothing sweeter than seeing the happy, confident smiles radiating from the recipients of these wigs.
CAMP RONALD MCDONALD FOR GOOD TIMES
I can’t have a list of childhood cancer foundations without including this last one. Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times. I was a camper at this camp held in Southern California on 3 separate occasions and have some of the best memories of my life from there.
Ronald McDonald House Charities are amazing and have houses all over the country to house families that need to be close to their children in the hospital, or live out of state and need an affordable option. This charity started a camp for children with cancer and their families and hold camps throughout the year. There are camps just for the cancer patients, there are camps for patients and their siblings and there are also family camps.
Some of the counselors I met at this camp were some of the funnest people I had ever met. I vowed to be a counselor one day, and hopefully can make that dream come true sometime in 2017.
You can volunteer to help at the camps, in the office or at the Ronald McDonald Houses in your area. Go to the website to find out more information.
If I could spend all of my money and time dedicated to the fight for Childhood Cancer, I would split it between these amazing organizations. I have personally benefited from almost all of them, and know that many, many others have and will continue to be blessed because of their efforts.
I have a huge place in my heart for volunteers that take time out of their busy schedules to help continue the effort of organizations like these. They would not be able to help in any capacity without the help of donations and time.
Please look into them and see if there is something that you and your family can do to help, especially during the month of September. There are so many options out there available to you to help.