Our Focus During COVID-19

Megan Morrey CCRF News, Stories

Our world looks much different than it did just a few weeks ago – since COVID-19 became a pandemic, daily routines have been upended. This crisis particularly impacts those who are fighting childhood cancer, whose immune systems are weakened by their treatments. We’re continuing to focus on the research and support programs that cancer families need now and in the future.

We’re so grateful for the support you’ve given us, and we wanted to show you how it’s making an impact. Your gift makes possible:

Targeted treatments that leave immune systems intact

Many of today’s cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplant, wipe out a child’s immune system, sometimes for years after treatment has finished. This leaves them more vulnerable to many sicknesses and infections. If a child undergoing treatment for cancer spikes a fever, that often means a trip to the emergency room – the last place any of us want to be right now.

We fund researchers who know that cancer treatment doesn’t have to be this way. Cell, gene and immunotherapies and new targeted drug therapies allow the patient’s immune system to remain intact, decreasing recovery times and risk of infection. By activating a child’s immune system or creating direct, precise therapies that can deliver drugs to destroy disease, doctors can leave normal cells unharmed, replace damaged tissue, enable self-healing and reprogram the body to function better.

For 40 years, CCRF has funded this type of cutting-edge research and we remain committed to a future where cancer can be treated more effectively without compromising a child’s immune system. The pandemic has only heightened the urgency and need for these discoveries.

Programs that foster community and healing

Unfortunately, pediatric cancer families are not strangers to social distancing. Many of them have had to practice social distancing often when their treatment wipes out their immune systems. But that doesn’t mean these families have to feel isolated.

For six years, we’ve provided support to Momcology, an organization that connects and heals childhood cancer families through peer support. Typically, we’ve helped fund in-person events such as restorative retreats and coffee connections. Instead, we’re now supporting Momcology as they shift their focus to virtual events, programs and ways to connect. In addition, CCRF will be facilitating online “Heart to Hearts,” which explore a different part of the cancer experience every other week. This ensures that even while cancer caregivers are social distanced, they know they aren’t alone. Your contribution enables us to support these caregivers during this especially difficult time.

Experiences for kids who deserve adventure

Kids fighting cancer miss out on so many of the things we take for granted. We believe they deserve adventure, even if they can’t leave home. For the past two years, our friend and partner James Orrigo has been helping kids create their own music videos that transport them to a tropical paradise, a racecar track or inside a video game – anywhere but home or in a hospital room. He works with them to create a song and animated music video completely directed by the child, the sillier the better.

Since James won’t be able to visit kids in person on his Big Dreams Tour that was planned for this summer, he’s creating a new experience using virtual reality headsets that will allow him to still collaborate with kids and bring their ideas to life. He’s using technology and creativity to break new ground that will create safe new ways to stay connected.

We are continuing to monitor and evaluate the needs of researchers and pediatric cancer families over the coming months, and we are committed to remaining nimble and flexible with what we fund to ensure we deliver on our mission.

Donate to help childhood cancer families

This crisis will end – but when it does, childhood cancer will still exist. Families and researchers still need our support – and that support is more important now than ever. If you’re able, please donate to fund research and programs that help childhood cancer families today and in the future.

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