#NoMoreHospitalGowns, Cancer Surviver Pays it Forward through Nonprofit, Luke’s FastBreaks

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Luke’s FastBreaks is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that makes colorful medical shirts for toddlers, children and teens in the hospital for long periods of time with serious chronic and terminal illnesses including childhood cancer, bone marrow transplant, autoimmune diseases, and organ transplants. The majority of children Luke’s FastBreaks serves have an extensive amount of IVs, lines, ports and feeding tubes.

The medical shirts enable pediatric patients to feel comfortable during their stay and boost their self-esteem by allowing for self-expression with various color options and designs. The Luke’s FastBreaks medical shirts meet hospital standards, allowing them to replace the traditional hospital gown in an effort to help with the mental fight these children face. The medical shirts also restore their privacy—something that’s often lacking in the traditional hospital gown. Most importantly, we believe these medical shirts give children back their dignity.

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Luke’s Story

The idea for the medical shirts was started by 9 year old cancer survivor, Luke Lange, from Dallas, Texas. During his hospital stay, Luke was forced to trade in his gym shorts and t-shirts for a new uniform—the hospital gown. Most pediatric patients will tell you the hospital gown leaves little room for privacy and strips them of their identity making the psychological challenges for a child fighting a serious illness like cancer even more severe.

Luke said the hospital gown made him “feel more sick”—he just wanted to feel like a normal 3rd grader.

How to get a Luke’s FastBreaks shirt

It is simple and easy to request a medical shirt for a child, just click here. The sizes range from toddler to youth all the way up to adult XXL, allowing every child and teen in hospitals to find a shirt that fits properly. You can also sponsor a shirt for a child in the hospital fighting cancer by donating $25.

Luke’s FastBreaks Impacts In Other Ways 

Luke’s FastBreaks make hospital visits. A special part of each visit is showing children and parents the Luke’s Story card, which is tagged onto each shirt (and cookie if the hospital allows). The card represents hope to many of these families and patients, as Luke shares his battle with cancer, how he BEAT cancer and his idea for the medical shirt.

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Every month, Luke’s FastBreaks recognizes a Child Life Specialist that has been nominated by a patient. We want to make sure to thank the hospital staff for serving patients so well during their fight.

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Luke’s FastBreaks also grants “wishes” for terminally ill children, like Emily from Shreveport, Louisiana. Luke’s FastBreaks partnered with JCPenney to grant her wish of becoming a “Fashion Model.” Emily was able to pick 3 friends to have their hair and makeup done while they model Luke’s FastBreaks newest designs.

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To learn more about Luke’s FastBreaks check out their website at LukesFastBreaks.org.

Luke’s FastBreaks Giveaway

Luke's FastBreaks Goodies.pngEnter to win some goodies from Luke’s Fastbreaks, including a t-shirt, hat, water bottle and bracelets.

Choose one or more ways to enter:

1. Sign up for email notifications at ChildLifeMommy.com and leave comment below.

2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy and tag a friend.

3. Facebook: Follow Luke’s FastBreaks and leave a comment about the giveaway.

4. Twitter: Follow, Like and RT the post to @ChildLifeMommy and @LukesFastBreaks

5. Instagram: Follow @ChildLifeMommy and @LukesFastBreaks, and tag a friend in the post.

Good Luck! Winner will be chosen 9/8/17

25th Annual Florida Association of Child Life Professionals Conference

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Guest Blogger, Kirsten Black from FACLP Outreach Development Coordinator

Looking for a chance to earn PDU’s and network with other child life professionals? Make a visit to sunny Florida next month and earn up to 13 PDU’s at the 25th Annual Florida Association of Child Life Professionals conference.

This year’s theme is Celebrating 25 Years of Playing with a Purpose! The conference will be held Friday, September 29 – Sunday, October 1 at the Holiday Inn – Lake Buena Vista (Disney Springs). Register before September 1 and receive an early registration of $30 off. *Conference hotel room discount deadline is 8/29 ($109 per room).

The conference features seven breakout sessions over two days, and topics include: transition, music therapy, mass casualty incidents, legacy building, magic, school re-entry, sibling support, life with a complex/chronic condition, grief, humor, prom, working with children with autism, NICU, camps, and internships. This year’s keynote speakers are Tamari C. Miller, MA (Director, Grief Services – New Hope for Kids) and Kristin Maier, MS, CCLS (John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital & Past President, ACLP).  There are also three optional pre-conference intensive workshops on Friday evening to choose from, with sessions on working with different generations, pediatric pain and symptom management, and interdepartmental communication.

Conference attendees are invited to visit the exhibit hall and meet with representatives from organizations like Make-a-Wish, Give Kids the World, Camp Boggy Creek, Upopolis, Amazing Interactives, HAPPYtown (formerly Happy Countdown Cards), Wallikids, Nova Southeastern, Spellbound, Team Impact, and Jamie’s Journey. Of course, there is a conference tote bag full of resources and goodies from organizatios such as Buzzy, Emergency Medicine Patient Safety Education Center (EMPSEC), Medical Memories and Play Therapy Supply. Saturday night, everyone is invited to visit Andy’s toybox and step into the world of Toy Story for the networking social. Mingle with other child life professionals from around the country while you eat, drink, play games, and dance the night away.

Don’t miss it on all the fun and register today at www.faclp.org!

 

Start the School Year Right

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Guest Blogger, A.S. Braverman an Academic Liaison at Thinking Caps Group 

It’s mid-August, which means that fall is just around the corner. There are lots of things to look forward to—the crunch of dry leaves, the comfort of your favorite sweater, pumpkin pie and apple cider, and, of course, the start of the new school year! As exciting as it is for kids and parents alike, this yearly transition can also be a big source of stress. It’s easy to let little things fall through the cracks in the hubbub of September. Your kids might be getting more homework as they get older, and lots of students participate in so many extracurricular activities that they’re hard to keep straight! Here are five ways to make your back-to-school experience as smooth as possible.

Get Organized

Make sure your child’s study space is free of the clutter that can distract from schoolwork. You can also set up a system of organization that he or she can use right from the beginning of the semester. Some students find that a color-coded binder helps them keep all their assignments in order. Others might benefit from keeping a weekly planner in a notebook or online. A family calendar in a prominent location—such as the living room or kitchen—is another good way to encourage time management. Additionally, the act of crossing off finished tasks can help give kids a feeling of accomplishment and autonomy.

Make a Schedule

Outline a daily “plan of attack” for school projects, social events, activities, and chores. Make sure your child records his/her assignments in the same place every week—such as in the notebook or online planner mentioned above. Next, we suggest “chunking” assignments into smaller, manageable steps, and then ordering those steps according to the project due date and the length of time your child will need to complete each step. You can use this plan to tackle daily homework and study time, as well as longer projects, such as papers or science projects. Ultimately, these steps will help your child learn the time management skills necessary to complete any long-term task.

Identify Your Child’s Learning Style

One of the most important things you can do to ensure a great school year is to understand how your child learns best. This information will help you tailor study and organization strategies to your child’s strengths and challenges. Some children absorb information by listening; we call these kids auditory learners. Other students—visual learners—do best when information is convey visually, through charts or illustrations. Finally, kinesthetic learners apprehend concepts through touch, by physically working through ideas and problems. Often, students exhibit a variety of these traits, so it’s essential that you get to know your child’s particular needs.

Remember To Take Breaks

The beginning of the year can feel overwhelming for everyone, parents and kids alike! As the days get shorter they also seem to get fuller. Don’t forget to build breaks into your child’s routine. Even a two-minute stretch, walk around the house, or quick snack can work wonders for a busy brain, especially when transitioning from working on one subject to working on another. We all need to take moments to reset our minds. Kids learn best when they’re running on all cylinders.

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Author Bio: A.S. Braverman is an Academic Liaison at Thinking Caps Group and a recent graduate of Columbia University. Thinking Caps has published many books, including SAT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2012) and ACT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2013). The company has been featured in The New York Times, Parenting, and The Huffington Post.