Weekly, we would like to also feature one of the many organizations posted on our website.
This week, we would like to introduce you to Kids Cancer Connection. Kids Cancer Connection was founded by Steve Firestein and he has done an amazing job spreading awareness and support for the children diagnosed with cancer and their families.
I would also like to thank Steve for taking a chance on Giving Artfully and being one of the first organizations to post a project on our site.
What is the mission of your organizations? The mission of Kids Cancer Connection, Inc. is to reach out families with a child diagnosed with cancer. KCC offers a variety of of services including peer-counseling, temporary housing, caps for kids with hair loss, field trips, etc. The Kids Cancer Connection is entering our 20th year of service this year.
What was your inspiration for starting this organization? As the Founder of KCC, my inspiration was becoming acquainted with several pediatric oncology patients. I had recently undergone surgery to remove a benign growth from under my scalp. I was fearful it was a cancerous tumor. I was incredibly lucky it was not malignant tumor. After my surgery, I needed some kind of protection for my scalp which had been shaved. A relative had begun knitting me a beautiful cap. Then several people started knitting caps for me. The rest is history. Our Magical Caps for Kids program has distributed tens of thousands of beautifully knitted and crocheted caps distributed throughout the U.S.
What are some milestones, successes or stories you have had since starting Kids Cancer Connection? I have many positive stories of success associated with our Magical Caps for Kids program. A story that stands out involves an nine year old girl. Jennifer was undergoing outpatient treatment at a public hospital for leukemia. She had lost her thick brown hair due to prolonged chemotherapy treatments. She was understandably self-conscious about losing her hair. I had met Jennifer and her mom during a KCC sponsored field trip to a museum. This young lady did not have a hat of her own to wear. Instead she wore a light coat and pulled the hood tightly over her head. It was a less than ideal situation. Jennifer was extremely shy and didn’t smile at all.
After meeting her, I arranged for her to receive several beautifully knitted caps to protect her delicate scalp. In addition, we contacted a nearby store where Jennifer selected a new outfit and several cute hats to wear to outside. This worked well for her. When I later saw Jennifer in clinic, she was more talkative with her nurses and Oncologist. Jennifer even waived and smiled when she saw me.
When I first started this program, I had no idea how I was going to locate a steady stream of caps for “our kids.” I approached a women’s group to ask for their help. After a month or so I revisited them for a pick-up and to “thank you.” Many of the ladies shared their personal stories of why they were making the caps. They all explained how good it made them feel to do something for others. The ladies took a lot of pride in creating these “gifts of love.” I had no idea making caps for kids would have this effect on our volunteers.
During National Volunteer Week (April 21-27) I am reminded of the many wonderful people who have also touched my heart through the many years. I thank Sitinee, and the many Giving Artfully volunteers reaching out to others near and far. You’re terrific!
To learn more about Kids Cancer Connection you can visit their site at http://www.kidscancerconnection.org.