Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s Mission to Local Families

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s Mission to Local Families title=
Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s Mission to Local Families
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Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (courtesy photo)

By Ariana Marmolejo

Not only does childhood cancer affect the child battling cancer, it also affects the entire family. This was the notion behind the non-profit organization, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF), which provides financial, educational, and emotional support to families in the Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties.

Founded in 2002, the TBCF has given $1.85 million in financial assistance to 1,928 individuals. “Until there is a cure for cancer, we are here to take care of every family that needs us,” said TBCF Executive Director Lindsey Leonard. 

In 2017 alone, TBCF saw a 34% increase in the number of families in need of assistance, yet despite this spike, the organization is committed to serving the tri-county area without turning any families away.

Jocelyn and Maddy Gonzalez (courtesy photo)

Beyond providing financial assistance, the organization works to promote awareness and educate communities about their cause. In honor of September being National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, TBCF kicked off their annual Gold Ribbon Campaign with their highest campaign goal to date of $370,000.

This campaign and the funds earned help support their mission to aid all those who come to them by providing networks between young patients and their families. They also raise funds for TBCF’s education advocacy, provide emotional support programs, financial stability, and working to create a safe space where families have the ability to fully focus on the wellbeing of their children.

After watching her younger sister fight for her life for years, Jocelyn Gonzalez decided to give back to the organization that helped her family so much. “What I choose to do is raise awareness alongside Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and stand up for all the little sisters and brothers so they don't have to face this alone,” Gonzalez said. “Without TBCF… I would not have the strength or grace to be able to do that today."

The Carter family remembering Garhett (courtesy photo)

Calista Carter shares similar sentiments, along with her efforts to pay it forward in her own right. Since her younger brother Garhett passed away, her family has been involved in TBCF’s philanthropic efforts. “Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation comforted me and my whole family during the most difficult time of my life,” Carter said.

Recounting the time when her brother became sick and ruined his favorite blanket, she recalls how it was immediately replaced by a handmade blanket that would become his new favorite, accompanying him throughout his treatment. “[TBCF’s] work and the work of others like them inspired me to start a blanket making club for kids in the hospital who need them, just as my brother did.”

TBCF’s Gold Ribbon Campaign will culminate with a fundraiser luncheon on October 4th at the Four Seasons Biltmore.

“Gold was selected for the color of the awareness ribbon because it represents a precious metal, and our children are precious,” TBCF Executive Director Lindsey Leonard stated. “Please Go Gold in September and join us in supporting local families.”

For more information on getting involved and giving back, visit www.teddybearcancerfoundation.org.

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