This post is made possible with support from Northwestern Mutual. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.
I remember when I was a young girl and finding out that one of my best friend’s little sister was diagnosed with cancer. I was too young at the time to understand how scary that was, but much of what I experienced during those years has given me a better understanding of the challenges faced by families fighting childhood cancer. Thankfully the outcome was positive in this story and I often see my friend post pictures of her family, and it makes me smile seeing that her sister has grown into a young woman! Their family had so much love and support during that difficult time… the organizations that stepped in to help the family was incredible! Seeing what a difference that made has inspired me to share with you how you can make sure more families like this get the support they deserve.
The Northwestern Mutual Foundation and the Childhood Cancer Program
The Northwestern Mutual Foundation – through its Childhood Cancer Program – focuses nationally on curing childhood cancer and helping families impacted by the disease. Some of what they do is provide family and patient support, which will aid those who struggle with the long-term effects of treatment. Since the program started in 2012, it has contributed more than $17 million and funded more than 200,000 hours of research. The program also leverages nonprofit partners (including camps and retreats) to help more kids and families live life to the fullest.
The Rose Bowl Stadium and Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation Rose Buds Program
The Northwestern Mutual Foundation recently partnered with the Rose Bowl Stadium to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience to children affected by pediatric cancer: The Rose Buds Campout on the Field event! A kid faced with a childhood cancer diagnoses needs these opportunities to restore their sense of childhood… which is so often lost during treatment and recovery. Northwestern Mutual envisions 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.
“When you get cancer, you kind of have to grow up fast. You can’t really be a kid when you’re that grown up. Camp gave me this new normal where I knew I was okay and had others like me, so that gave me some reassurance and the confidence to travel through the rest of my journey.” -Bennett Unger, 14, of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Some of my best memories when I was growing up were camping with my family. There is no doubt that camp is an invaluable experience for a child… but especially for those children who are fighting cancer. What’s so rewarding about camps for kids with cancer and other chronic illnesses is that they provide community, camaraderie and hope to those who need it most. Recently more than 200 kids and parents, many of whom are affected by childhood cancer, gathered at the famed Rose Bowl Stadium field.
Some highlights from that event included families cooling off under the spray from a Pasadena Fire Department firetruck, tours of police vehicles and the historic Rose Bowl Stadium locker rooms, soccer on the field, football, making dream-catchers and necklaces, chowing down on BBQ and s’mores, a surprise performance by musical act Us the Duo, “The Incredibles” on the big screen and tents pitched out on the field for a night under the stars.
Unfortunately, not every child is healthy enough to attend camp, so the Northwestern Mutual Foundation is creating indoor camp experiences in select hospitals nationwide. They are generously delivering kits to pediatric cancer units so they can bring camp-like experiences to those undergoing inpatient treatment.
“Camp experiences are invaluable: Seeking cures for childhood cancer is important, but we must also care for kids and families in the fight today.” -Eric Christophersen, president, Northwestern Mutual Foundation
Through July 23, YOU can vote for the iconic venue where you would most want to camp out, and for every 25,000 votes cast, Northwestern Mutual will grant an indoor camp experience to a pediatric cancer unit… amazing right!? MAKE SURE TO VOTE HERE!
*Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) and its subsidiaries. Learn more at northwesternmutual.com