When it comes to receiving heartbreaking news, a doctor telling you that your child has cancer is undoubtedly some of the worst you can hear. According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, an estimate of 15,780 children from birth to the age of 19 are diagnosed with cancer every year in the U.S..
The Kids Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organization since 2001, has stepped up to positively impact the lives of childhood cancer patients and their families. While the coronavirus put an abrupt stop to the significant family gatherings and charity events, the KCF continues to find safe and healthy ways to support the children.
The foundation hosted "Kids Nights Out" on Feb. 5, their first event of the year, designed to give parents free time while their children make friends within the community of fighters. The event was moved into a spacious room at The Mall at Wellington Green to ensure social distancing was practiced.
“Covid makes me feel crazy!” KCF volunteer Dona Leonne said. “I’m glad we can have this function with a little bit of fun and a little bit of socializing.”
Local churches and schools participate in these events by donating or volunteering their time. While the event is undoubtedly a great way to earn community service hours, it is also an opportunity to bring positivity into the lives of the children facing unimaginable adversity.
“My daughter and I fell in love with the kids and the families. It filled our hearts being able to serve,” volunteer Jennifer Levie said. “I love to see the smiles on their faces.”
The “Kids Night Out” event included Valentine’s Day crafts and activities, with tables around the room for kids to receive a smile and a gift. Families are now looking forward to the next fun-filled night in March, where the theme will encompass Dr. Seuss in honor of his birthday.
“Every month is a different theme for the Kids Night Out,” KCF volunteer Janet Bruno explained. “I enjoy seeing familiar faces.”
Whether you’re a childhood cancer patient, a sibling, or just a supportive friend, every child has the opportunity to build lifelong relationships.
“We get to pour into these kids, we can pour into these families, and let them know that there is hope,” Levie said. “There are good people who love and support them.”
By Daniella Parra