The focus of Childhood Cancer Family Fund is supplying Christmas gifts to the free Christmas Shop at St. Jude Hospital’s Target House. We chose this as our mission primarily because that’s what Target House said they needed help with. They don’t get enough donations to cover all the families.
But let me illustrate why Christmas is so important to the families there by telling you what I witnessed a couple years ago while working as a volunteer at the Target House Christmas Shop.
Parents come down to the store one family at a time. A volunteer helper assists them with picking out gifts. On this night a mother of a patient came into the room that was filled with gifts and immediately began crying. A volunteer asked if she was okay, and through her tears she began to speak. She said she knew her child was going to be celebrating their final earthly Christmas and had just one wish for Christmas, one particular toy. She explained that money was tight and there was no way she could afford the only gift her child asked for. She said that just prior to coming down to shop she was online looking at the toy her child requested, trying to figure out the impossible, how she could afford it.
She came to the Christmas Shop just hoping to find something that might be a suitable replacement, but she admitted feeling so bad that she couldn’t afford the last gift her child was ever going to ask for. When she was escorted into the room to shop she immediately looked on the floor right in front of her. THERE IT WAS! The only thing her child asked for was sitting there waiting to be claimed! She was going to be able to provide her child the one gift they asked for, the last gift she would ever be able to give her child.
Someone out there somewhere donated that gift or the money to buy that gift and provided a Christmas miracle to that family. Your act of donating a gift or money now can provide the next Christmas miracle for a family at Target House. Will you provide the next Christmas miracle? Please help by going to ccff.info and clicking the donate button.
Sometimes people ask, why do you choose to stay involved with childhood cancer after your days in the hospital are done? The answer is simple: You can't "unknow" childhood cancer. It becomes part of you. Each story, family and child you meet becomes ingrained in your heart. Each vision of a child tangled in IV lines while riding a tricycle down the hallway, or the sound of screams howling from behind a closed exam room door in the clinic hallway... as you walk your own child to their exam room, can't be pushed away. Each parent you find in the hospital break room crying silently to themselves to hide their pain from their child, can't be forgotten. Most importantly, the sadness from the final note from a family you love, telling the world that their child is no longer with them...you can't "unknow" those feelings of helplessness and grief.
-When we can help others, we heal too-
While working as volunteer Elves at the Christmas Shop at Target House we were helping parents select gifts for their children.
One of the most sought after gifts were Dream Tents. They were a hot item nationwide and became difficult to find, almost impossible, even online.
One particular mom searched and searched online for a Dream Tent for her daughter that was being treated for cancer. She could not find one, they were sold out online everywhere.
Running out to a store to look for one was impossible, so she had given up hope of giving her child her dream Christmas gift. So many families living at Target House do not have their own transportation with them so they must rely on shuttles to get out to shop. Coupled with the fact that often only one parent is with a child because one parent stays home to work, going to stores is not an option.
When the mom got to the Christmas Shop she was amazed to find several Dream Tents to choose from! Someone out there had donated a whole case of Dream Tents so there were tents available for many of the kids at Target House.
She was able to give her daughter battling cancer her dream gift. By making a donation someone out there fulfilled a child’s Christmas wish, proving dreams can come true.