From COVID19 to the tragic wildfires across the west coast, 2020 has proven an unprecedented and difficult year for many. These life changing events have forced Candlelighters For Children With Cancer to be in a constant pivot, ensuring that no matter what hurdles we face, we continue to serve our families while living out our mission: to provide a community of healing, hope, and light throughout the life-long journey of childhood cancer.
Amidst these hardships, I am happy to bring you some positive news. Through the graciousness and unwavering support of donors, we have had the resources this year to continue critical programs for our families throughout their childhood cancer journey, from diagnosis through treatment and beyond.
Our Candlelighters staff and board of directors have been tirelessly working since March, transitioning fundraisers and programs to align with COVID19 safety measures. Some of the work we have accomplished through our innovative fundraising efforts include:
After cancelling the Annual Cancer Warrior Breakfast in April, we launched an online, peer-to-peer fundraiser, rallying community support and raising over $70,000.
Upon learning of the cancellation of our largest fundraising event, Ride For A Child, the staff, committee, and board shifted to a ride-a-thon style event over the summer and with the help of a $25,000 match, exceeded our goal of $150,000.
Our largest third-party fundraiser, Golf To Give persevered through many unknowns and successfully and safely held their annual tournament at the end of August, raising $45,000 and setting a fundraising record in 2020.
As our fundraisers adjusted to 2020, so did our programs and families. Here are some highlights:
Over $60,000 has been distributed to families through our Emergency Financial Assistance Program, ensuring that those impacted by pediatric cancer do not have to forgo food, electricity or travel in order to pay for medical bills.
Our teen program, The Luminaries, has transitioned 100% virtual. They gather together weekly to work on projects such as support videos and community outreach programs, providing support to one another, as well as other teens and siblings facing pediatric cancer.
Candlelighters annual Family Camp transitioned to a virtual, interactive camp-themed scavenger hunt, held on August 22nd. 36 families participated in a day of fun adventures, connecting safely with other families, bringing laughter and joy to them, helping take their mind off the daily stresses of pediatric cancer.
We've started a monthly zoom parent support group, led by Dr. Kabour, that encourages families to connect over the challenges and questions around parenting a child with cancer.
Our teen group hosts a monthly family game night over zoom, with fun for all ages.
With so much unknown, one thing is for sure - these 2020 accomplishments would not have happened without our entired community.
From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the Candlelighters family, I thank you. As we head into the last few months of the year, I am confident we will be able to continue living out our mission and meeting our families wherever they are in their battle with pediatric cancer.