Lehigh County Health & Medicine Fall 2019 - 17

L C M E D S O C .O R G

The Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the
"Camp Smile is the best week of the year,
Lehigh Valley (PCFLV) is a local non-profit, according to all of the campers," said Michelle
dedicated to helping those local pediatric Zenie, Executive Director of PCFLV and
cancer patients and their families. PCFLV em- cancer mom. "It is a wonderful week filled
braces the pediatric cancer journey alongside with love and, of course, smiles."
children and their families, moving forward
as a community with love, hope and smiles.
In addition, PCFLV makes monthly visits,
They support at diagnosis, encourage during called Chemo Circus, to the outpatient
treatment, empower in survivorship, and if pediatric oncology clinic at the Lehigh
necessary, comfort throughout bereavement. Valley Reilly Children's Hospital, armed
with an array of arts and crafts, gifts, enFor 16 years, PCFLV has been providing tertainment, and food to distract children
free and unique programming and is focused during their treatment.
on creating a loving and supportive cancer
community for families whose lives have been
"I love being able to sit with our kids and
forever changed by pediatric cancer. Many of get them to laugh and "escape" for a bit while
their programs allow the patients, their siblings receiving their chemotherapy treatments," said
and their parents opportunities to connect, Kris Buss, PCFLV Program Coordinator. "We
share experiences and provide comfort and often take a special visitor - like a princess or
support to each other. They also provide an super hero - along to Chemo Circus, which
opportunity to focus on something other than adds a bit of levity to the clinic atmosphere."
cancer, medicine, needle sticks and doctor
appointments. All programs are open to
Each month, PCFLV holds Caregiver Coffamilies whose children are on treatment or fee, which provides parents a chance to grab
in survivorship. Siblings are included as well. a cup of coffee and get a short respite break
Bereaved families are also invited to attend while their children are either in the clinic
any of these activities.
or in-patient. Parents have the opportunity
to chat with fellow pediatric cancer parents
PCFLV's ongoing programming includes and PCFLV staff.
Kids Konnect (featuring either an activity or
arts and crafts project for kids aged 4-12) and
PCFLV also addresses the often unrecogteen activities such as bowling and go-karting. nized costs of dealing with a pediatric cancer
PCFLV rotates each month between moms' diagnosis. In many instances, one parent
nights out, dads' nights out, and parent nights. needs to either reduce their work hours or
These evenings include anything from art quit their job during their child's treatment
to sports to theater performances to dinner. protocol. And there are many costs related
to a cancer diagnosis which are not covered
Each year, PCFLV holds Camp Smile, a by insurance. To that end, PCFLV provides
one-week day camp which includes sports, families with grocery store, gas station and
art, theater, special visitors and much more. hospital cafeteria gift cards, along with EZPass
At this year's Camp Smile, there were 52 gift certificates for families who travel to
campers (a combination of cancer patients, appointments in Philadelphia.
their siblings and siblings of children who
passed away) and 44 counselors in attendance.
Through Lehigh Valley Health Network,
At the end of Camp Smile, parents join the PCFLV has a Family Assistance Fund which
campers and counselors for lunch and get to assists with mortgage/rent payments, car
see their children in a theatrical performance. payments and repairs, and other necessities.

PCFLV also offers a one-time housecleaning
service for newly diagnosed families.
For cancer kids who are going on to higher
education, PCFLV provides a one-time $3,000
scholarship. This the only program PCFLV
holds where siblings are not included. In
June, PCFLV handed out 5 scholarships to
graduating seniors.
The PCFLV Back-To-School program
provides school supplies (backpacks stuffed
with pencils, paper, etc.) to kids each August
prior to the start of the school year. For the
Holidays, PCFLV collects gift cards for their
Adopt-A-Family program, allowing parents
to focus on the Holiday and not the cost of
gifts. PCFLV also purchases and distributes
tickets to local sporting and entertainment
events, a luxury that many pediatric cancer
families are unable to afford.
Bereavement programs are also provided
to families who have lost a child to cancer.
From support groups to remembrance projects,
these programs offer comfort and support. In
addition, PCFLV provides a $500 stipend to
bereaved families to help with final expenses
or funeral costs.
September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness
Month. Each day in September, PCFLV posts
a story and photo of a Lehigh Valley pediatric
cancer patient on its social media sites. These
stories are written either by a parent or by
the child themself. Called 30 Days/30 Stories,
this campaign allows everyone a glimpse into
the world of pediatric cancer that exists right
here in the Lehigh Valley. The 30 Days/30
Stories series can be seen by going to pcflv.org.
Also throughout the month of September,
numerous schools and businesses hold events
that raise awareness and funds for PCFLV.
These events range from gold-out high school
football games to bake sales. To learn more
about these events, you can go to pcflv.org.

To learn more about PCFLV, their fundraising events, volunteer opportunities and
sponsorship packages, please go to pcflv.org or call Tracy at 610-297-7292.

FALL 2019 | Lehigh County Health & Medicine 17


http://www.LCMEDSOC.ORG http://www.pcflv.org http://www.pcflv.org http://www.pcflv.org

Lehigh County Health & Medicine Fall 2019

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