I was connected with Starlight Foundation when I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in May 2012. I was given many resources and even offered a space to blog on the Huffington Post. The kindness and generosity shown to me by Starlight was heartwarming and extremely helpful in helping me overcome a lot of the emotional obstacles that came with my diagnosis. The blog has been an incredible outlet for me to express my feelings on my experiences with cancer as well as articulate what I have learned from the ordeal. I think that Starlight is an inspiring foundation. The work they do for children and adolescents is phenomenal and admirable. I am very thankful for what they have done for me and for others. Thank you Starlight!
When our son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, there weren't a lot of positives to it needless to say. But, the activities we have been able to participate in with Starlight have been so much fun and have made a hard situation better.
Starlights events have inspired my daughter to make new friends and see new things, after her diagnosis in 2006 from cancer, she was very reserved and a little angry, her focus was on how she was feeling, after the first few events I started to see a change, her esteem was building, and she was seeing familiar faces from the hospital, it encouraged her to make plans even, I am very grateful to this foundation for bringing smiles and happiness back into my daughter and the rest of my family.
My son has serious health problems which impact our whole family on a daily basis. We are constantlyat the hospitalor drs appointments and he has to be homeschooled. I have had to quit my job to be homme for him so we live on a fixed disability income. as a single parent iam just making ends meet but there are no extras for my kids. starlight has provided many events including granting my sons wish a trip to disneyworld for the family and many concderts, sporting events and seasonal parties with other families that share similar experiennces. They even have their own xmas toy shop where i was able to pick out some toys and stocking stuffers for my kids. Since joining startlight our family feels truly blessed rather than cursed by my sons illness. If he were well we would not have met all of the wonderful starlight staff and famillies and got to attend all of the functions. they deserve an award for providing joy to famillies where little joy existed before. I am eternally grateful to them.
Being a parent of a child with the sickle cell anemia disease, I know, first hand, all the emotional stressors, which can be associated with the disease for both the child and the family . To that end, the Starlight Children's Foundation of Florida -through its different activities, one of which is the Great Escape, has helped alleviate some of the daily stressors, by giving an opportunity to the entire family to share some quality time together and with other families. This sharing/learning time is very therapeutic. The hands-on activities for the children, the food, the gifts, etc., have made Great Escape even funnier.
I am very appreciative and grateful for such an organization for being there not only for the children with chronic health issues, but for their families as well.
Daniel was born almost 8 weeks early. We waited to see what if any complications were to follow. He suffered many hospitalizations in the first year of life that we didn't even remember we had a real house to go home to. As the next few years went by we spent more time in doctors offices and therapy centers to provide him with the best quality of life as possible. Then we found out that he suffered a tramitic brain injury somewhere in the first year of life. We shifted gears over the next several years to continue our efforts on doing what was best for him but we started to forget about ourselves and what we needed. Our other two kids were always put on the back burner becuase we had to get their brother to a doctors appt or therapy appt. When Daniel was about 7 we were introduced to the Starlight Family. OUr first outing was to the circus. We hadn't been in years. We all had a great time and for the first time in a long time we heard all 3 kids laughing and having a good time. We knew that wihout Starlight we would not have made the time. We also didn't have to worry about how to pay for this as they covered everything so that we could attend. We no longer had to make a choice about to go out as a family or pay for extra medications or therapies. Starlight has always stepped in when we needed it the most. When the stress at home from the day to day struggles get to be so much that you just have to shift gears and enjoy each other. The great escapes and day brightners have proivded our family with opportunities that we could not have done without their support. They have become part of our family that we will never forget about.
Daniel was born at 32 Â½ weeks. At first with only a 8 day NICU stay we didn’t think much then about what he would be faced with later. When he was in preschool he didn’t communicate and was not social with the other kids. At 5 he was diagnosed with a condition called non-verbal learning disorder and at 7 the MRI showed damage to the right hemisphere indicative of a traumatic brain injury. I was working at our local children’s when I was first approached by great escapes offering a new service in town. As I learned about it I also told them that I had their first client with my own son and I have been a family member since. Each day my son struggles to do what comes naturally to most of us. He doesn’t see himself as different just someone that leans differently and he has always set out to do the best that he can. However, that doesn’t come without being discouraged when he can’t, for being isolated from his peers who don’t understand or when he is pointed to when he acts different. Starlight has become a second family to him as well as all of us. He is free to participate as is without prejudice and he has met other children who share his some struggles. As a family we have met many wonderful families who have been down the same path as we have and only they can understand how sometimes the smallest of steps of access are nothing short that a major triumph in our world. We moved a couple of years ago, and despite leaving friends behind Daniel said is there are starlight group where we were going and I was happy to tell him yes. He was so happy to meet his new family and it was a a familiar atmosphere to him making the move a little easier for him and all of us. The time we spend with our Starlight Family gives us the opportunity to step back and just enjoy each other and see everyone laugh and have a good time. This doesn’t replace the daily challenges that Daniel faces or that we all face with him but for a few hours each month, it assures that we all focus on a fun family time atmosphere. We have been very lucky to participate in a host of events from ice skating, to the circus, to major leagues sporting events and a host of other activities. Raising a child with an life long illness is a major financial and emotional undertaking that without Starlight family we could not either afford to do on our own much less carve out the time to go do it. The Smith Family
Our family received a devastating diagnosis of childhood cancer almost 4 years ago that completely changed our lives. We lost income, freedom and the "normalcy" we once enjoyed as a family. Slowly we began to adjust to our "new normal" that included caring for our young daughter as she fought for her life. We had no energy, nor the means to plan activities or excursions for our family of 5. We learned of Starlight Children's Foundation through a cancer wellness center in our area. Starlight made it possible for us to enjoy family time again...time to reconnect...time to forget about childhood cancer for a while...time to experience new people, new places and new friends. Starlight's Great Escapes and Day Brighteners are aptly named; we have experienced both - a time to escape the realities of childhood cancer and days full of brightness...THANKS Starlight!!
Hi, my name is Irene meyers I have a 16 year old daughter just last year was diagnosed with crohn's disease i or my family never heard this disease shes been hospitalized 3 times and had 3 colon oscopy a endoscopy 2 times numerous blood work done and this december had to get a endoscopy done a chest x ray blood work ultrasound on her chest because they found she had a infection of her lungs because she was taking steroids for her crohn's wich caused her infection. she also had mono ontop of everything else and a enlarge spllen this all happened at same time in december. we dont get any help threw government we make to much monety how when i'm still paying for previous medical bills from last december well anyway Starlight foundation has helped my family. to forget about our problems and enjoy our time together as a family Thank you the meyers family.
Starlight has changed our quality of life. Thanks to Starlight Greatescapes Progam we have had the opportunity to attend wonderful, fun filled local events free of cost! Thank you starlight for all that you do!
Starlight gives these sick children a chance at "normal" events and things regular children do. My son enjoys every event we have been a part of.
I am mother of a daughter with a Primary Immune Deficiency Disorder. Her first Great Escape was in May 2011 and we went to a Mother Daughter Princess Tea. My daughter spends a lot of her life in a hospital room to receive treatments that keep her alive. That in May of the Tea I will probably always remember as a mother. My daughter did not stop smiling the entire time. All the people there went above and beyond to make sure that my daughter and I were having a great time. My little princess that is 3 1/2 still talks about that day all the time. She created happy memories and had quality time with her mother. This day is absolutely priceless. Words cannot how thankful I am for the Great Escape Program.
My son Jorden has Bilaterl Polymicrogyria. Starlight NW has allowed him to do things that he normally would not be able to do because of his condition and also because of the financial strain on our family. Starlight has allowed our family to enjoy events as a family. Whether it is events like going to see Elmo or Trick or suite for Halloween. These past two years have been really hard for my family as my wife has been dealing with many medical issues herself. This has made the financial strain even herder as I am the sole provider and had to take alot of time off to help take care of Jorden. So when christmas came around this last year we did not have much to make a Christmas for our four kids. Starlight helped out to make our Christmas better. We also had an unknown person who heard about our situation through somebody assocaited through Starlight sponsor us for Christmas. Starlight foundation has made it so much easier for us to enjoy ourselves and for Jorden to enjoy freindship and be as normal as he can be. Jorden has spent alot of time in the hospital and with the help of Erin Behen director for Starlight NW he has been able to have things to play with and not be bored with just me being in his room. It made his stays in the hospital easier for both of us.
My son was born with a life threatening immune deficiency. Our lives are not what one would consider "normal" in getting to do lots of activities outside of our home. One reason for this is purely medical, however, the other major constraint is financial. Starlight has given my son and our family many fun "great escapes" to participate in over the years. We have been able to attend the Aquarium, The Rangers baseball game, Six Flags Holiday in the Park, The Ice Show, the rodeo, parties, and most recently, we were able to attend a cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu! My family has been very blessed to get to do these fun outings, as we never would have been able to do so if not for Starlight! My son has really enjoyed every Starlight function we have attended and we are very grateful for their organization!
M y daughter Alexandria has retinoblastoma & lost her left eye to cancer. She LOVES going to the Broward Arts Center, in her words "to go to the theater" (yes, she is 3 years old).
Starlight has made sure that she can forget the MRI's EUA's and prosthetic eye appointments with the "theater". It is our special girl time to get dressed up & go to a show.
Thank you Starlight because I would not be able to afford this luxury with all of her other medical bills.
Starlight has changed the quality of our family life. Our 6 year old daughter has a severe brain-injury. We also have an eight year old son who is a wonderful big brother. Thanks to Starlight we have had the opportunity to attend venues we could never plan or afford. Starlight has given us the gift of attending a Miami Heat game together, Iceskating, Mini horse farm and many other parties planned and organized by the staff and volunteers. Everyone is so kind, comapssionate and loving. thank you for providing such beautiful times for our family to escape from our everyday routines of medical treatments and therapies.
Starlight Children's foundation has been so great to our family. My Daughter has a spinal cord defect and has had to have numerous back and leg surgeries. She was also diagnosed with Leukemia. When Katie was inpatient for days on end, she was entertained by a game system provided by starlight. The playroom was loaded with board games that were donated by starlight. On days that were miserable playing games would distract her from her pain and help her in healing faster. We were hooked up with starlight through the child life specialist at our hospital. After signing up our whole family was invited to participate in events. These events were so much fun for the kids, they made them all feel special. They were around other kids and their families that have gone through different kinds of health trials and these kids all connect and feel a great bond. Without Starlight this would not be possible. One of my daughters favorite events when they treated a bunch of girls and their mothers to a day spa. The girls were treated like queens for the day and it didn't matter if you were in a wheel chair or you were bald all the kids were treated to a special day. They even rode in a limo that day! My daughter will have those special memories forever. My family enjoys getting to do Starlight events, and it really makes my kids feel special. These are events that with all the stress and medical bills my kids would not be able to do. My kids are getting a great opportunity and Starlight makes this possible and I am truly thankful!
Review from Guidestar
This organization is a blessing for many children dealing with struggles that they should not be faced with at their young age. It has been a chance to participate in outing and experiences like other children their age. Its an escape from constant doctor visits and therapies and painful tests. Starlight has meant the world to my family it gave us a hours of forgetting about our troubles.
Starlight is a wonderful organization that is multifunctional. Not only do they put fun centers in childrens hospitals, put up safe chat rooms for teenagers to talk to others and feel safe and connected to others that have special needs or life threatening illnesses, but they put together the most amazing activities that families can do together; most activities we couldn't afford to do on our own. To top it all off; they bring in their starpower ambassadors to bring smiles to the kids faces. Our 3 year old has Spina Bifida, is in a wheelchair and has faced many hospitalizations and surgeries in his little life. This has been very challenging for my other four boys. Starlight has allowed us all to have fun and forget the reality of Kumaka's issues for just a little while. We have met a now dear family friend from Starlight; one of the starpower ambassadors who truly cares about our family and the other families she comes in contact with. Not only do we see her at some of the events, but she checks in with us to see how Kumaka is doing as well as the other boys. We have felt an outpouring of love and joy from being a part of this organization and hope to one day be able to be on the giving end. We can truly say that Starlight has changed our lives.
my son Jack, now age 10, was diagnosed with late stage x-ALD (remember the movie Lorenzo's Oil?) in august 2008 after months of symptoms. we took him to U of Minnesota for a bone marrow transplant after flying in his older brother from his Marine Corps base. despite the successful transplant, he still went blind, deaf, lost all abilities except to breathe. HOWEVER he has regained most of that now with time and therapy and enjoys the starlight events where every effort is made for children with special needs. we go to the california pizza kitchen event every year, today we are going to it. we spent 7 months in minnesota and went to starlight events there as well. thank you for giving us this opportunity. we tell him its "camp" and it brightens his day alot. the staff who work these events are amazingly kind and patient and thougtful.