THE HEART CONNECTION

Rating: 4.97 stars   110 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Cancer

Location: 1221 Center St Ste 12 Des Moines IA 50309 USA

Mission: We enhance the quality of life for families connected through childhood cancer, and create opportunities to learn, play, and share.
Geographic areas served: Iowa and surrounding states

2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

My son, Ian, was diagnosed with leukemia at the end of last May. It was the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me in my life. I was so overwhelmed with emotion, and trying to deal with all the changes that became part of my life, and Cancer Connection helped with this. They provided a wonderful manual at the beginning of my son's diagnosis that helped me to better understand what he was going through, and helped me to find some coping strategies. Thing went along fine for several months, and then this winter I had an emotional relapse. I started to feel upset about my son's diagnosis again, even though things were still going well. I didn't understand this, and my confusion made me feel even worse. Cancer Connection was there for me again. They connected me with another mom who had a daughter with leukemia. We were able to meet and talk, and it helped me tremendously. Additionally, there is always someone from Cancer Connection at the oncology clinic to help the kids in the waiting area with crafts, games, etc. My son enjoys working with these volunteers and I'm thankful that they are willing to share their time to make our visit at the clinic (not my son's favorite place) a little more pleasant. Life changes in so many ways when your child is diagnosd with cancer. There are the obvious changes like hospital and clinic visits, and lost of medical bills, but there are also a lot of challenges that people don't think about as readily, such as the continual emotional roller coaster and strain to parents, dealing with side effects, and trying to help your child feel positive about an awful situation. Cancer Connection helps to fill the gap for these concerns.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

that I am a mother of a child with cancer and this organization helped serve my family.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make more support groups available on different nights, and perhaps for different types of cancer.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

All our children have attended the Heart Connection summer camps and programs since 1991. Our oldest son was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor when he was 5 years old. Less then a year after his surgery and radiation treatments (still in a wheel chair and with great reservations of letting him go for a week) we took him to the Heart Connection Summer Oncology Camp. It was the thrill of his summer and he continued to go every summer until he "graduated". Now he attends the "weekend" retreats for the older kids who are cancer survivors. He also volunteered a summer working in the arts and crafts.

His younger sister and brother also attended the sibling camps. All three thoroughly loved the fun they cherished during those weeks at the summer camps. They never missed attending a camp. It was their summer highlight. They made new friends who they may know for their lifetime. Our daughter is returning as a volunteer and hopes to use her RN experience and volunteer at the health lodge during the camp.

The fond memories the camp gives these children is unsurpassed and unforgettable! The Heart Connection Children's Cancer Connection programs makes a difference in a child's eyes and provides them with love to see some of the rainbows in life!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing how it has changed our children's lives

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make no change, it's already making all the right choices

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Children's Cancer Connection does so much to help families from the day they are diagnosed. They continue to be with the family for small celebrations and big ones.

Children's Cancer Connection makes you feel like family once you become a part of the organization.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

volunteering

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

no changes. They continue to provide many programs to families when the need arises.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

We lost our daughter when she was 17 year old to cancer. She died to young and to keep her memory alive we have donated or purchased items from CCC in her honor. This group does awsome job of bringing joy to so many people in so many ways. If we stop funding research now we will lose more children and that just should not happen keep up the good work.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Keeping my daughters memory alive!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I believe it is heading in the right direction and has come up with some wonderful ideas for fund raisers. I like the new garden stone idea.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

The environment CCC provides is amazing. I volunteered at sibling camp this past summer and the organization provides such a family like atmosphere for not only the children at camp but the staff as well. The siblings were able to spend a week in the spotlight! The camp also has so many traditions that I felt like it might be overwhelming for a new camper, but everyone there is so open to welcoming new members into this CCC "family".

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

camp

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change a thing

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Volunteering with Children's Cancer Connection is an emotionally rewarding experience. The children and families taught me more about life than one can possibly hope to learn on their own. They teach perseverance, acceptance, honesty, compassion, and respect, among many other things. Working with the camp programs was the highlight of my years as a counselor. Watching the children grow throughout the week of camp was an incredibly experience that I will take with me throughout life. My time with Children's Cancer Programs has confirmed my future career goal of working in pediatric oncology nursing. Heartfelt thanks to the children, families, and staff of CCC for making everyone's lives a little better.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my personal life. Through CCC I have learned invaluable lessons to motivate me through nursing school and my future career.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

change nothing. You guys are fabulous!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My older sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 11 years old, I was 8 and our brother was 5. We heard about the Heart Connection through the Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines. In the summer of 1998 my sister went to camp for the first time in June. She came back with nothing but good things to say about it so my brother and I attended sibling week in July that same summer. From my very first day at camp I have made lifelong friends every time I go. These friends have always been my biggest support and most stable things in my life; especially after my sister passed away at age 15 in December 2000.

I must admit during my teenage years I got into quite a bit of trouble at home and the summer right before my senior year my parents told me I couldn't go to camp; that was the end of life as I knew it. I expressed to my parents how important it was that I went, camp was my therapy in life and without I would have gone crazy and ended up in a bad place. After talking with my parents they decided to let me go, they could tell over the previous 8 years of being a camper how much camp meant to me and my brother.

After I graduated high school I came back to camp as a volunteer, first on the kitchen staff (during the floods of 2008), then as a counselor, and last year on the Directors Team. Throughout the years I also have part-took in Stand Up to Cancer, the Annual Ski Trip, Walk to the Beat, and many other fundraisers. I know how important the Children's Cancer Connection is to me and how much it has helped me cope in life, so I try to give back to the organization as much as possible so other people just like me can get the love and support they need to make it through the battle against cancer.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my every day life. I try not to take things for granted and whenever I need to vent or support from one of my friends I ALWAYS call someone I met through the Children's Cancer Connection.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change one thing!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa.

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

Oh so many....the most important ones I talked about above.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My sister was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 9 (I was 8). Although I was distraught and extremely scared, I found comfort in knowing the Heart Connection was there as a support, along with my wonderful family. I was a camper, a counselor, and have volunteered for several events since I was 8 years old. Now that I am 30, I still find comfort in knowing the organization exists and is as strong as ever for children enduring the same bump in the road as I did. The Heart Connection is a wonderful organization with an amazing staff!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my day to day life as a child and feel all children in the same or more severe situation deserve to receive services from this organization.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

do nothing! They are wonderful!

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

We have been a involved with the Children's Cancer Connection since 1989 when one of our 6 children was diagnosed with lukeamia. We have sent 4 children to camp and have had a child involved as a camper, volunteer couselor or paid staff program director every year since. The Children's Cancer Connection is very supportive of the entire family for the entire journey and even 20+ years of survival. We have all volunteered and supported this great organization. It makes the journey no one ever wants to take so much easier.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Many ways, but mostly through the smiles on the kids' faces at camp, sporting events, parties, etc....................

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Finance and endowment for them so they would never have to worry about funding in the future and could just continue to expand and make more wonderful memories for such a deserving group of children.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I first got involved with this fabulous charity when my brother had cancer some years ago and attended their annual summer camp. He had a great experience - it allowed him to get away from the disease for a week and just be a kid again. They do fabulous work!!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing how my brother benefited.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Nothing - they are great!

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Review from Guidestar