Source: Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation
Every year, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF) provides guidance and companionship, as well financial and emotional support to families in the Tri-County areas who have a child facing pediatric cancer. This year, due to the pandemic, life has become tougher on these families who have a child who is immunocompromised.
Whether it be a single family household, or an entire family in need, TBCF has offered hope, comfort and stability during this time, when they need it more than ever. Families battling pediatric cancer have been dealing with isolation, fear, uncertainty and the loss of “normal” for so much longer than we’ve been fighting this pandemic and they’ve been doing it alone. This is why TBCF created Season of Hope, a campaign that aims to help give these families a joyful holiday season and support them with basic needs going into 2021.
This year, the community has come through to help raise funds for families facing pediatric cancer. Through TBCF’s Season of Hope campaign, 184 kids across the Tri-counties received gifts through Project Holiday alone and TBCF plans to continue campaigning through the end of the year so they can help families as they face the daily battle of having a child with cancer in addition to the pandemic.
One child TBCF has provided for throughout the years is Jasmin Castro, who has lived with cancer her entire life. Her story is truly one of courage, hope, and grit.
When Jasmin was diagnosed with cancer, she was only one year old. The treatments saved her life, but left her almost completely deaf, and with other disabilities. During this time, TBCF assisted Jasmin’s family with financial support, and she began attending their family support groups so she did not go through this alone.
Years later, when Jasmin was 10, TBCF and Santa Barbara Police Foundation partnered to raise funds for state-of-the-art hearing aids which was truly a miracle for her and her family. After Jasmin received the hearing aids, she heard birds chirping for the first time in her life and her and her family were so happy! With the help of the hearing device, her determination to succeed, and community support, Jasmin became a straight-A student, played softball, and danced.
As she continued to attend TBCF’s family support groups and became a role model for other children battling cancer. She helped other families feel less alone. Nothing could stop her. Then five years later, she suffered a brain aneurysm and was in a coma for 3 weeks. She lost her ability to walk, talk and eat, and she had to start over again. But Jasmin never stopped fighting. She went back to school and although It was hard, she never gave up. She graduated from high school with honors and is now studying to become a nurse. She has been attending Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s family support group for the past 17 years. Jasmin never gave up on herself and Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation will never give up on her.
Jasmin is just one of the family stories of hundreds of children in the Tri-County areas facing pediatric cancer and now these families need hope more than ever as we enter another state-wide lockdown.
Help TBCF to support Local Families who have a Child with Cancer:
In response to the pandemic, and in addition to TBCF’s regular services, over $7,000 in gift cards were distributed to families in need; 37 families received additional financial aid; 137 families received additional meals; and TBCF doubled the number of family support groups.
“At this moment in history, our global community is experiencing grief, confusion, uncertainty, and the fundamental shift in what we experience as “normal.” But at least we’re all going through this together,” said Dr. Corey Pahanish, TBCF’s new Executive Director. “The good news is that TBCF exists for this very purpose. Each year our supporters gift their precious time, money, and energy in response to our mission, and during this very scary time your support is absolutely essential. While the pandemic is compounding the challenges faced by our families, TBCF is redoubling our efforts and is committed to meeting their needs.”
TBCF campaign runs through the end of the year and they are relying on community support to help reach their goal of $120,000 to continue to assist these families in 2021.
Any donations received by TBCF means that the families they serve won’t have to go through their battles alone – this will make their holiday season joyful and enable them to provide services to the ever increasing number of children and families who need them. These families will receive holiday gifts, meals on their tables, funds toward monthly expenses and access to emotional support.
To help TBCF keep the Season of Hope going now and through 2021, any donations received will be matched by one of TBCF’s amazing supporters. To make a donation and give a family hope this holiday season, please visit: https://www.teddybearcancerfoundation.org/
About Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation
Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation advocates for families living in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties that have a child with cancer by providing financial, educational, and emotional support.