It is something that families hope never happens to them. However, the sad truth is that there are thousands of families that are faced with the reality of fighting childhood cancer every day.
Childhood cancer is a terrible diagnosis – not only for the child, but for their parents and siblings as well. It is an extremely tough road to go alone. That is why it is important for families who are faced with childhood cancer to have the support and resources they need to feel that they are not in the battle by themselves. Additionally, funding is needed for research to develop advanced treatments for childhood cancer – and hopefully a cure as well.
Research, resources, and support are the tools that lessen the burden so these families can create more happy memories.
The Rose Bowl Stadium, Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation, and Northwestern Mutual – through its foundation – partnered to provide kids and families affected by cancer nationwide a once-in-a-lifetime experience that created lasting memories.
This event on July 6th, named the Rose Buds Campout on the Field, provided 200 kids and their parents (total) the opportunity to spend a night under the stars at famed Rose Bowl Stadium field. In addition to dinner and s’mores, the fun-filled evening activities include arts and crafts, on-field games, tours of a firetruck and police truck; musical performances, movies and more.
“Many of these kids never had an opportunity to be just that – kids,” said Eric Christophersen, president, Northwestern Mutual Foundation. “Bringing them together at a camp like this lets them forget all that.”
Northwestern Mutual is also giving people the opportunity to bring camp joy to more kids: People can visit www.nmcampvote.com to vote for the iconic venue where they would most want to camp out. For every 25,000 votes cast now through July 23, Northwestern Mutual will grant an indoor camp experience to a pediatric cancer unit to help them bring camp-like activities to their patients.
Childhood cancer can turn a family’s life upside-down. It can be difficult for kids regain the sense of childhood so often lost during treatment. One of the many challenges that families fighting childhood cancer face is finding and creating experiences that not only make precious family memories, but also make their child’s life feel as normal as possible. It’s no secret that chronic illnesses such as childhood cancer can cause children to miss out on childhood experiences such as camping. Having seen my own friends and family members go through this, I know how disheartening it can be.
One friend in particular comes to mind whenever I think of families facing challenges while fighting childhood cancer. Her daughter Natalie was only seven years old when she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. It completely tore my friend apart. It was her first and only child, and she had just moved to a different state away from family to take a new job. The weight of finding the best doctors, navigating Natalie’s best course of treatment, staying on top of all of the lifestyle changes, scheduled appointments, and medications – all while keeping life as normal and comfortable as possible for her – was extremely draining. Watching Natalie suffer from the side effects of chemotherapy and other treatments was too much to handle for my friend. She also frequently struggled with how to best give Natalie a life of normalcy – she didn’t want her to miss out on the joys of being a kid just because she suffered from an acute illness.
Eventually my friend did find a support system and programs designed for children fighting cancer in her area. Both proved to be of great help to her as Natalie’s health further declined. Because of the support, resources, and childhood cancer programs that she was able to get Natalie involved in, she was able to share precious moments with her daughter enjoying experiences that helped to lift the weight of cancer off both of their shoulders if only for a little while. Those moments are now memories that will be treasured forever by friend now that Natalie is gone.
That is why I am personally grateful for events especially for families fighting childhood cancer like The Rose Buds Campout on the Field event. Camp is an invaluable experience for any child, but especially for those fighting cancer: camps for kids with cancer and other chronic illnesses provide community, camaraderie and hope to those who need it most.
Kids and families faced with childhood cancer diagnoses need opportunities to restore the sense of childhood so often lost during treatment and recovery. Northwestern Mutual sees a future in which children and families can move beyond the fears of cancer and find happiness, because all kids deserve the chance to just be kids; and all families deserve the chance to create as many happy memories as possible.Fghting Childhood Cancer
Go to www.nmcampvote.com to vote and trigger grant and indoor camp experience donations to more hospitals nationwide. You can cast one vote per day!
Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) and its subsidiaries. Learn more at northwesternmutual.com.