In June our Quest Club Troop did cancer awareness events. That had me thinking, how else can people be involved in this cause? Whether it is awareness or raising money or helping others living with cancer, what can our children do? With the recent passing of my little brother, who passed away after a month-long battle of Osteosarcoma, it has become clear to me that no matter what age (my children are ages 9months-9years) children can really grasp what cancer is, what can happen, and that they want to help. The empathy a child holds is inspiring and should be encouraged.
For everyone who wants to know more, here is
10 Ways for Your Child to be Involved in Cancer Awareness
- Alex’s Lemonade Stand: Our Quest Club held a Lemonade Stand and it is very easy. The organization sends you everything you need, even a coupon for the lemonade mix. Set up a table wherever you would like and sell lemonade. Our scout troop raised 200.00 for the foundation and my family’s community raised over 1000.00 for the osteosarcoma part of the foundation.
- Relay for Life: The Relay for Life is a huge walk with the American Cancer Society. The atmosphere and community are just amazing. I have been doing the relay for over 10 years and every year I tear up. If you can’t do the whole time frames just make sure you go to the luminaria ceremony where luminarias are lit up in memory and honor of those with cancer. It will make you tear up and give you the motivation to make a change.
- Make a Wish: There are so many ways to be involved with Make a Wish. Many people hold yard sales where the sale money goes to the Make a Wish cause. Every year here in Maine there is Wayne’s Wiffle Ball tournament which is a big hit. We also have a large walk in Bangor that raises money for the Make A Wish Foundation. Make a Wish is a great organization that tries and makes a wish for a child who is ill. Talk to your child and see how they would like to help! Make a Wish met my little brother a few times, he passed away before they could grant his wish but they did connect with his favorite baseball team and the players made recordings for him that he viewed right before he passed away.
- Hero Beads: Hero Beads is a program through the American Childhood Cancer Organization. These beads are very affordable (I bought them for my brother) and a great gift for a child going through cancer treatment. Each bead symbolizes something the child has gone through like chemotherapy, CATscans, MRI, XRays, make a wish trip, etc. Use your allowance to buy these beads or hold a fundraiser and give a child the encouragement they need.
- Bark for Life: The Bark for life is similar to the Relay for Life except that you can bring your dog with you and it is not 12-24 hours. It is a great way to get your kids involved in cancer awareness in a fun way. No dog required 🙂 but dogs make it fun.
- St. Jude’s Children Hospital: When I earned my Girl Scout Silver Award my troop did a bike-a-thon in my small town for St. Jude’s. We were sponsored by how much we road or a flat donation. St. Jude’s is one of the largest cancer research hospitals out there for children and has a great reputation. St. Jude’s hold events all over the country and they offer a lot of ways and ideas on how you can help. Just type in your zip code and see everything that is offered.
- Project Linus: Project Linus is an amazing nonprofit that I highly recommend. Project Linus volunteers, of any age, make blankets for children in local hospitals to have for comfort and go home with. My daughter when she was an itty baby received one and it meant the world to me. This is a great organization that would be very easy for your child to be involved in.
- Beautiful Lengths: Hair donation may seem strange to a child until you take the time to explain it and then it always is something they want to do! My daughter only grows out her hair just so she can donate it, she has three times so far and she is only 9. Beautiful Lengths is a program by Pantene with a partnership with the American Cancer Society. You donate a minimum of 8 inches unbleached hair and they will use it to make wigs for women who have gone through cancer treatment.
- Team Mimi’s Annual Softball Tournament: Does your child think they cannot make a difference? Tell them to read about Team Mimi! Team Mimi’s softball tournament was started by a 9-year-old kid. He is now 18 and this tournament is still going on! This child lost his grandmother (Mimi) to ovarian cancer. He started and has continued, a softball tournament where the proceeds go to the hospital system of Maine’s (Northern Light/Eastern Maine Medical System) Champion for a Cure. He has raised tens of thousands of dollars and has made a big impact.
- The Paper Crane Project: The Paper Crane Project is an amazing story of how friends and family lost someone very special to them, very quickly, to cancer. They decided to make her memory live on through spreading kindness. Boy how it has spread! When you do something kind you are supposed to leave a paper crane where you did that act of kindness when someone finds that paper crane they will know something good happened here and they will do something kind and leave the crane at the new place. Get it? You can join the facebook group to learn more about how they are spreading kindness and the memory of this wonderful woman. This is a simple and great way to teach your child about kindness and get them involved in the cancer awareness cause.
Writing this, something I have been working on and off on for three months is making me tear up. Why has it taken me so long to write something so short? Because the loss of cancer is so great and I bet every single one of you reading this can relates. I have lost aunts and grandparents to cancer. I have watched grandparents, friend’s parents, and family members suffer through cancer treatments. This year my best friend lost her mother to cancer after just a few months from the diagnosis. I lost my little brother in May after a month-long battle with Osteosarcoma. Cancer is harsh. It does not discriminate. When I was doing the Alex’s Lemonade Stand with my family just a few weeks after my brother passed away we had people we never met tear up telling us stories of their battles with cancer. I hope that you will never be touched by the hurt cancer causes, but sadly science tells me you already have been touched by this in some way. I hope these 10 ideas inspire you and your child to make a difference and spread some positivity and encouragement along the way.