Photo source: Kings County Advertiser and Register
Anyone diagnosed with cancer knows how terrifying and debilitating the news can be. Now just imagine how horrible an experience it would be for an elementary school student to hear that they have cancer.
It is a sad fact that thousands of children are diagnosed with cancer every year, and it is heartbreaking to know that these children have to suffer through the many trials this condition brings. But organizations like Make a Wish foundation work hard to provide these children with experiences that they could only dream of, and inject some much needed hope and happiness into their lives.
But sometimes communities come together on their own to help these children. Such is the case with Soren Spinney and her superhero-themed fundraiser.
Sorren Spinney is a six-year-old elementary school student residing in Glenmount, Montreal. The young Canadian resident was diagnosed with stage 3 lymphoma in July of 2017. Due to the progression of her disease, she was forced to undergo chemotherapy shortly after being diagnosed. Like many chemotherapy patients, her hair would eventually fall out. Her parents were obviously as distraught as can be, but there was a little light that would soon shine on Spinney's journey.
Sorren's school, Glooscap Elementary School in Glenmount, decided to hold a fundraiser for Spinney. Spinney was a big fan of superheroes, with one of her favorites being Wonder Woman of DC Comics. In that vein, the school decided that the fundraiser would be superhero-themed.
Sorren could hardly contain her excitement about the event, according to her parents. She just could not wait to dress up as her favorite superhero and show all her friends and teachers on the day of the event. She was so excited that she and her parents counted down the days until the event every night before Spinney went to sleep. On September 30th that day would finally come.
Although Spinney was in the middle of her treatments for her condition, she still was able to don her favorite Wonder Woman costume and appear at Superheroes for Spinney, the fundraiser put on by Glooscap faculty. Spinney's homeroom teacher, Lisa Pinch, and the event organizer, resource teacher Rachel Creasor, both volunteered to shave their heads in solidarity at the event. Spinney's mother, Andrea Tremblay-Spinney, was practically in tears when Pinch promised to stay bald until Spinney was able to grow her hair back.
The proceeds raised by the fundraiser will help the Spinneys, a family of six, with a variety of travel costs and medical bills related to Spinney's ongoing treatment. This is especially important due to the fact that her mother has had to take off from work to care for her daughter. Creasor set up a number of family friendly activities in order to make the day as fun for everyone as possible. Four strangers dressed in professional-looking superhero costumes even stopped by, much to the delight of Spinney. Creasor and Spinney's mother seemed to be elated at the many students and families from the community that came to support Spinney. Creasor said that the event also served as a lesson to students that you can make a big difference in someone's life just by offering a little kindness.
Spinney still has a ways to go on her journey to a full recovery, but there remains a lot of hope that she will come out a healthy and happy child in the end. Her mother says that the family was also offered an all expenses paid trip to Disney after Spinney submitted a wish through the Children's Wish Foundation of the Canada Nova Scotia Chapter.
Her story reminds us that one event can give a little bit of hope to a family that struggles to have a positive outlook at all.
Creasor also created a GoFundMe for the family. Although the fundraiser has met its goal, you can still donate or give words of encouragement here.
What you can do
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of children like Spinney who are currently suffering from different forms of cancer. Although this is a harsh truth to consider, there are a number of organizations that aim to help these children through research, treatment, and entertainment. Here are a few brief descriptions of these organizations as well as links to where you can donate or volunteer for each:
Children's Cancer Association: The Children's Cancer Association is an organization dedicated to spreading joy to children with cancer by facilitating play, music, friendship, and other activities that can help children with cancer and their families enjoy moments while facing unimaginable struggle and hardship. You can learn more about the organization and how you can help here.
Sunshine Kids: The Sunshine Kids organization is similar to the CCA in that they focus on providing emotional support and a variety of positive activities for children with cancer and their families. The organization puts on a ton of free events and gatherings for pediatric cancer patients all across the country. You can learn more about the organization and how you can help here.
CURE Childhood Cancer: CURE Childhood Cancer is run by a mother of a childhood cancer survivor, and is dedicated to providing funds towards important clinical research that could eventually lead to a cure. The organization also provides support and services to pediatric cancer patients across the country. To learn more about the organization and how you can help, go here.
Family Reach Foundation: The Family Reach Foundation seeks to alleviate the financial troubles of pediatric cancer families. These families often become impoverished due to astronomically high medical bills and treatment costs. The Family Reach Foundation helps these families with their medical bills, transportation costs, and even basic necessities like rent or grocery bills. To learn more about the organization and how you can help, you can go here.
Childhood Cancer Guides: Childhood Cancer Guides are a very innovative and highly useful organization that publishes numerous books covering everything families with pediatric cancer patients need to know. The guides cover a wide variety of different types of cancer and are offered to families free of charge. To learn more about the organization and how you can help, you can go here.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital: St. Jude is one of the nation's leading hospitals in providing treatment to pediatric cancer patients and researching different treatments in hope of possibly finding a cure. The hospital is well-known for charging absolutely nothing for treatment, travel, housing, or food to any of its patients. It also receives 75% of its funding from donors, making donations a core part of their business model. To learn more about the hospital and how you can help or donate, you can visit their website here.
The National Children's Cancer Society: The National Children's Cancer Society does a lot for families whose children are diagnosed with cancer. They have distributed over 65 million dollars to families for expenses during and after treatment. They provide medical information and support to children currently going through treatment. One of the coolest aspects of the organization, however, is that they provide 40 $3,500 college scholarships to childhood cancer survivors every academic year. Not only does this organization help children during treatment; they are also setting them up for success after treatment as well. For more information on the organization and how you can help, you can visit their website here.