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

Luke's FastBreaks.jpg

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.

Luke's FastBreaks Collage .jpg

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.

16300303_10154294724895382_7769623778280650743_o (1).jpg

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.

Child Life Specialist of the Month.jpg

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.

Luke's FastBreaks girls with logo.jpg

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

Giving Back: Spotlight on Sara’s Smiles Foundation

Last spring I had the opportunity to meet Jen Burke, the founder of Sara’s Smiles Foundation at the CLC Conference. She was full of positive energy and compassion to help children fighting and surviving cancer.

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 7.18.46 AM
Sara’s Smiles Foundation, a designated 501(c)(3) organization, was created by the family of 5 year-old Sara Burke to carry on her memory, spirit, and legacy of hope, determination, and cheer. Sara was a vibrant, energetic, little girl who loved arts and crafts, mac and cheese, music, her Big Wheel, and her big brother and big sister.

Upon being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, Sara and her mother lived at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for seven months. During that time, Sara underwent multiple surgeries, chemotherapy treatments, stem cell transplants, and therapies of all sorts. Despite her difficult, adverse circumstances Sara battled her disease with fierce determination and an unwavering positive attitude, living every moment to the fullest. Although physically isolated, she was able to harness the power of love from her family, friends, and community. This energy filled her heart, brightened her outlook, and strengthened her resolve to fight.

Tragically, on May 12, 2008, Sara lost her courageous battle with cancer. The many, many happy memories that Sara experienced in the hospital are the primary inspiration behind Sara’s Smiles. Our mission is to extend a loving hand in helping to create a warmer, more personal, more empowered experience for children who are struggling with cancer by providing a variety of resources to entertain, comfort, and educate. The three major facets of Sara’s Smiles are our website, Inspiration Kits, and Inspiration Stations. All three are designed to encourage a more positive experience for children and their families.

Our Website:

Our website, www.saras-smiles.org, is designed for both the child diagnosed with cancer as well as his/her family and friends. The website provides information about our Inspiration Kits, Inspiration Stations, and many valuable resources. A comprehensive, user-friendly list of organizations that support and advocate for kids with cancer as well as websites and apps for games, arts and crafts, stress management, and pain relief are also featured on our site.

Our Inspiration Kits:
SarasSmiles

Sara’s Smiles Inspiration Kits help cultivate a more positive environment and frame of mind for children who are fighting and surviving cancer. Each Inspiration Kit is designed to be durable, portable, practical, and fun. Our kits contain a sampling of the resources found on our website- items that can help families stay organized, connect with others, and explore creative ways to encourage smiles. Whether in the hospital or at home, we believe that engaging children not only brightens their spirits, but empowers them as well. Sara’s Smiles donates Inspiration Kits to pediatric cancer patients in the many hospitals with whom we are partnered and also upon request free of charge. Kits can be ordered by phone or our website.

Our Inspiration Stations:

SaraSmilesInspirationStations

Sara’s Smiles Inspiration Stations are where clouds are lifted and joy is inspired via the creation of bright, beautiful, Inspiration Cards. Inspiration Stations are easy to set up and can be hosted by anyone, anywhere such as at schools, parties, shopping centers, etc. Volunteers hosting Inspiration Stations encourage people to share colorful, uplifting, and positive words, phrases, quotes, and pictures on cloud-shaped Inspiration Cards. The cards, crammed with positive “graffiti,” offer an extra measure of love and support to the patients and families who receive them. The Inspiration Cards can also be used to add a spot of color to the walls of a child’s room. They act as a constant reminder of the strength that lies within each child and the unbroken, loving connection to a community that cares about them. Inspiration Cards are included in our kits. They can also be delivered as a surprise package of love and cheer to a child diagnosed with cancer by family and/or friends. More information on how to host an Inspiration Station or to request the delivery of Inspiration Cards can be found on our website, www.saras-smiles.org.

Click here to learn more about Sara’s Smiles Foundation and how you can get involved or make a donation. Be sure to follow their page on Facebook too.

One Mother’s Journey Through Grief is Bringing Hope to Others. Spotlight and Giveaway from Comfy Cozy’s for Chemo

CC Logo

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and it’s the perfect time to share a story of one amazing mom, Lorraine Tallman and her passion to help others through ComfyCozy’s for Chemo.

Lorraine lost her 13-year-old daughter, Amanda, after a 4 year battle with cancer. Amanda hated that she had to constantly lift her shirt for the doctors, interns and nurses to tend to the chemotherapy port in her chest. Before she passed away she helped design a fun tie-dyed shirt that would provide children with modesty, dignity and comfort, while still allowing access to their port. The Comfycozy for Chemo was born.

ComfyCozys Collage

The shirts have angled zippers or buttons that allow the front to flap open and provide access to the port. There is an inside pocket for the port, when not in use, so it doesn’t scratch and irritate a patients skin and slits with snaps to manage all the lines coming out of the port.  The shirts come in size 6 months to Adult 2XL and come in a variety of tie-dyed patterns. There are short and long sleeved shirts, hoodies, dresses and onesies.

Amanda charged her mother with getting the shirts, free of cost, to all pediatric cancer patients.  Lorraine has raised enough money over the past 3 years to give away almost 4,000 shirts! Lorraine is engrained in the community of Phoenix  Children’s Hospital and teaches a class there for doctors and nurses called Dignity for the Journey.  She also sits on the hospital’s Family Advocacy Council .  We are delighted that ProMedica shares Amanda’s dream of keeping children comfortable and providing them dignity in the harsh world of childhood cancer.

ComfyCozy’s are shipped to any patient that does not already have one, connect with us via Facebook or online at Comfycozys.com to receive one. If you would like to sponsor a child or make a donation, click here. If you are interested in volunteering or being added to our mailing list, email Jessie Swygert at J.Swygert@ahras.org.

Be sure to check out Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

ComfyCozyzGiveaway
We will be giving away one tie-dyed logo t-shirt to a lucky winner!
Choose one or more ways to enter:

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

2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy, leave a comment and tag a friend on the post.

3. Facebook: Follow ComfyCozy’s for Chemo, leave a comment about the #ChildLifeGiveaway.

4. Twitter: Follow, Like and RT the post to @ChildLifeMommy and @ComfyCozy4Chemo

5. Instagram: Follow @ChildLifeMommy and @ComfyCozy4Chemo, Like and Tag a friend in the post.

Good Luck! Winner will be chosen 9/10/15