THE HEART CONNECTION
July 31, 2009
There is no organization like the Heart Connection Children's Cancer Programs. A cancer diagnosis brings the world to a halt. And then it starts to spin. Doctors, procedures, hair loss, nausea, waiting for test results and dealing with insurance. But the outside world really doesn't halt. Simple things like going to work, making dinner, getting kids to school keep going.
You try to hang on, you try to let go. You try to breath, you try not to drown. And you try to keep the other kids' world running, along with the marriage.
And through all of that, there is this incredible organization, the Heart Connection. They invite the entire family to the most fun activities imaginable, they feed us, they put us around other families in the same boat, and they do it all for free. They provided some of the rare "fun" times that we couldn't manage in the midst of juggling it all.
And then there is camp. A week for oncology kids with doctors and nurses and volunteers who come back year after year. The fragile child is handed off into the most capable hands that even we overprotective parents feel safe. Feeding tubes, ports, wheelchairs, they deal with it all and turn no one away.
And then they go even further. A week for the siblings. The overlooked ones who we struggled just to keep fed and clothed and going to school. The ones who wonder why they can't go to the hospital and get all that attention too. They go away for a magical week each year, with those wonderful volunteers who have watched them grow over the years, who have become a second family. And they smile and wave goodbye, independent and safe for a week of pure spoiling. The stuff I couldn't do.
And even 12 years post cancer, they still invite us to their activities. We still go to family camp and summer camp. And it brings back all that we went through and all that we survived and gratitude for it all.
At this point in my child's recovery, I still go to these activities to stay clear, to remember what is important in life, and how fortunate we are.
I love this organization with all of my heart. so much so that I even open my wallet to them, which is not something I do often as a single parent of three. My goal each year is to give them more than last year. They just gave to us, they continue to keep giving to us, with open arms and undaunting smiles. May you never face childhood cancer, but if you do, move to Des Moines, Iowa. This organization is worth it.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
the faces of parents and other kids facing childhood cancer.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
be truly blessed.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
The unconditional love and acceptance of my family.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
expand to other states.
Ways to make it better...
I'm sorry, I can't think of anything they can/should do better.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
getting volunteers from people with busy lives.
One thing I'd also say is that...
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Client Served & Parent.