"In December of 2016 our son was diagnosed with Leukemia. He was high risk and we were put into isolation straight away. As I refused to leave his side, and we couldn't leave our room for the first month or so of treatment, we were very isolated. It was probably a few weeks before we were given much in the form of supports available outside the hospital. I remember feeling very alone. I remember getting a bag of 'goodies' that included some toys, and a thermometer from Kids Cancer Care with a sign up sheet for Camp. Not really knowing what to do with it, as my son was too young for camp, it went untouched.
No one talked about supports in the community or other ways to contact families going through what we were. Kids Cancer Care has pizza night on Wednesdays on the oncology unit but we didn't really stop to chat in those first few months. Then one day we were given a Fostership care package. It had a superhero cape, homemade superman stuffy, bracelet, age appropriate toys, and a list of supports available to us that could help us on our Journey. The biggest thing I got out of this care package? We are not alone! - There are other families battling cancer that are available to chat, go for coffee, provide places and people we could contact for help where we needed it.
Families going through treatments need to know they are not alone. Right away, not days, or a month after being admitted. They need to know that if they need or want to reach out that they can, even if they are on isolation, or they're not ready for contact yet.
Our Fostership package led us to realizing Kids Cancer Care was not just camp, there are many other programs available through them, it also helped me connect with other mommas in the KAM support group. I am so thankful that there are other cancer families who are supporting newly diagnosed families and that we are getting the word out that no one is alone in this fight." ~T.C.
"When we got the phone call at 8pm March 28th, saying our sons blood was showing signs of leukaemia and that we would have to leave to ACH that night we had no idea what we were in for. We didn’t pack for a stay in the hospital we just grabbed N’s diaper bag and hit the road. A few days in we received our care package, it wasn’t only full of very useful essentials but it made our hearts warm feeling love and support from people who know what it’s like to have a sick child. The list of resources was so useful as well so useful in fact that our social worker took it to make copies. Ours journey as everyone else’s in this situation is long and full of ups and downs, we are so grateful for all the support along the way." ~J.B.
"We received our care package within the first week of diagnosis. All of us, even though surrounded by all the doctors, nurses and staff, we felt so alone. We barely went out the room and couldn’t participate in activities outside of the room because of isolation. The delivery of the care package brought a much needed distraction and joy to my daughter. It also had items that were very useful for the whole family. But, most of all was that we didn’t feel so alone anymore and that they were others out there offering support and resources. I believe we wouldn’t have known or accessed over half of the supports if it wasn’t for the list that was in the bag". ~B.G.
"The care package we received was so thorough, every detail was thought out if we ever had to have another lengthy hospital stay. Our son loved all the super hero items, and stuffies, food and games! The care package arrived the day we got home from our lengthy stay at the hospital, after our son’s diagnosis. So it was a perfect gift, that was perfectly put together to arrive home to! Thank you for your generosity!
JW, CW and LW ( our super hero)
"We were going on 8 months after diagnosis, before meeting Candace, and hearing about her care packages. Once talking with her, I immediately knew our experiences with ACH were going to be different going forward.
My daughter was diagnosed when she was 2.5 years old. The life that we knew was forever changed, and there was no one that we knew who we could turn to who could relate. The doctors, nurses, child life specialists, social workers, and all staff at ACH were great in helping us navigate the medical side of what was going to be happening, but anything else we were left to figure out on our own.
We had come to the conclusion that we were pretty much on our own, that there were no services available to us. We didn’t know what type of service we were needing, but just wanted to know there was something. Then we learnt about these care packages. It was hand delivered while we were waiting in day surgery for another surgery our daughter was about to undergo. Receiving this package that had so many well thought out gifts meant more to us than we could have ever imagined. Not only were there so many helpful items, things to make our daughter feel special, and keep her entertained while at her many appointments, it gave us new hope for a new community and family. It was this care package, that introduced us to so many groups, services, other parents and families, it finally made us not feel so alone.
I could only imagine what the first 7-8 months could have felt like, if services like this were made more readily available, and known about." ~C.R
"…From diagnosis in Medicine Hat to starting chemo in Calgary 40 hours late flipped our family into chaos. During our most upsetting, stressful and scared first days a package arrived that made us smile and forget about cancer for a little while. R received a huge, anonymous gift bag filled with the most thoughtful, practical, perfect items for a young girl staying in a hospital undergoing chemotherapy. A perfect balance of practical, necessary and personal touch items. I include this act of kindess everytime I share our story of our cancer journey. " ~S.V.
"We received our care package for J and I can’t tell you how much we appreciated and needed it at the time. Your world is turned upside down and incredibly hard and you feel very alone. The package helps pick up your child’s spirits up, makes you realize there is a support network out there to help you and is just one little weight lifted off your shoulders in a time of chaos. J still carries his superhero around with him, and it’s always in his crib at home or in the hospital. It’s his comfort when he isn’t home." ❤ ~M.B.
Thank you for all of the gifts and information. ….The
games and toys got us through our 12 day inpatient stay as well as offering distraction at home. I've used the kcups in the wee hours of the morning on Unit 1, adjusted to carrying and using sanitizer everywhere, anytime, and love the booklight. I often read to (my little one)
between 2-5 am because the prednisone makes him sleepless. It is just the right amount of light to see but not irritate him. " ~A.P.