We are only two months into this journey of cancer (oh my, how much longer it seems!) but there are already several charities that stand out in my mind that have been extremely helpful to us.
I never realized just how much help cancer patients and families need during this time of crisis. Every little thing helps. There are days that want to drag you down into the pit of despair but a cheerful note or phone call, a meal dropped off, or even just a hug can keep you afloat. I realize that now.
I urge all of you, in the words of a St. Jude's commercial "To thank God for your healthy children, and to give to those who are not." Help does not have to be in a monetary form. A letter, a phone call...anything helps. The four charities below are ones that have helped us immensely. I ask you to check out at least one, and to donate or help out in some way if at all possible. I can tell you that there are several things that we plan to do after Jacob's treatments (volunteer to make a meal at the Ronald McDonald House, be a chemo angel to someone else that is going through treatment). I'm sure I'll add more charities to this list in the future but wanted to highlight these four today. It's Valentine's Day - and what better way to show love than to BE love to someone?
*Chemo Angels is a non-profit organization that matches volunteers up with patients that are undergoing chemotherapy. A volunteer must commit to sending a piece of mail (whether it is a card or small gift) once a week to their buddy, for the duration of their treatment (up to 18 months). It isn't a penpal service, as the patients are not required to write back...though they can if they so choose. Jacob was set up with two angels and I can not tell you what a blessing it has been to him. On Saturday and today he received Valentine packages with goodies in, and the angels were kind enough to remember Becca and Joe as well. Receiving these notes and packages in the mail has been such fun for him. It's awesome to see him light up with happiness while going through this trial. If you feel that you can commit to this, you may want to consider signing up as a volunteer to become an angel.
*Ronald McDonald House Charities was a tremendous help to us the week that Jacob was in the hospital after surgery. We were able to stay there the night before Jacob's surgery so that we wouldn't have to drive in the wee hours of the morning to get to the hospital. Ben and the kids were able to stay there several nights and be close to us for Christmas. The house was clean and inviting. The bedrooms were a place to escape and relax. Volunteers cooked meals every single night for all the house guests. I can not tell you how much of a calm during the storm this house afforded us. If you have one near you, consider volunteering to cook a meal, or clean. Donate health and beauty supplies that you may have gotten free with coupons. I can not imagine all the work that goes into running a house such as this but it is a tremendous help to those with an ill loved one.
*Super Sibs is a non-profit organization that helps support the siblings of a child with cancer. There are lots of resources for children with cancer but the siblings often get left behind. Super Sibs calls the siblings "shadow survivors", which is all too true. It is not just the child with cancer that is affected by this illness...it affects the siblings as well. Super Sibs sends small packages to the siblings about 10 times a year. They even earn metals and trophies for being brave and strong. It helps the siblings learn more about what is going on and is a resource for parents, giving us information on how to deal with the other children while having to focus a great deal of time on the ill one. It is a great thing to be able to support siblings that feel lost in the transition and I hope you will consider donating even a couple dollars to help with their expenses.
*Knots of Love is a non-profit organization that knits and sends hats to patients undergoing chemo or other illnesses that may cause hair loss. Jacob received three hats from them (in his favorite color!) and they are so soft and warm for his bald little head. It is truly like slipping on some comfort...especially knowing that these were knitted by volunteers with love. Contact them if you are a knitter, or consider donating a bit of money to help with expenses.
Have you been involved with any of these organizations?