Rio Grande Cancer Foundation

Candlelighters offers families valuable services for children with cancer

Home> News > Candlelighters offers families valuable services for children with cancer
Rio Grande Cancer Foundation
Rio Grande Cancer Foundation
Rio Grande Cancer Foundation
  Ted Escobedo   4 min read 7 years ago

Candlelighters offers families valuable services for children with cancer

The goal at Candlelighters is that “no child should face childhood cancer alone.” From the moment of diagnosis and throughout treatment Candlelighters is there to provide financial, spiritual, social and emotional support for children with cancer and their families.

I have seen first-hand how financial pressure further adds to an already stressful time. Every day one of our parents will call to get help with utility bills, rent, or gas money to drive back and forth from home to hospitals and to daily doctor appointments. During the first, inpatient, week of treatment the sum of income lost plus additional expenditure exceeds 50% of total income in over 45% of families. (British Medical Journal: “Financial burden of childhood cancer.”

Take a look at some of the programs offered by Candlelighters


Children with cancer are first and foremost still children and want to be treated the same as children without cancer. They want the opportunities to run, play, swim, and enjoy being with other kids. Candlelighters gives children, their siblings and their families a chance to enjoy normal childhood activities. Our week long camps – CAMP COURAGEOUS, for our kids with cancer, and CAMP BRAVO, for the siblings,

are an opportunity for them togo horseback riding, participate in sports, games, campfire sing-a-longs, crafts, and the usual antics that are traditional at all camps.Camp is not just a place to escape rather it is a place to develop character. According to research, when children with cancer attend camp, they develop better self-concepts, enhance their self-esteem, gain control of their experiences, learn new activities, and develop character.

For our younger ones, we have CAMP LITTLE ONE, a one day minicamp. A place to play; a place to giggle; a place to be a kid; and a place to feel special.

Our TEEN RETREAT is a great way for teens to share their unique experiences. We rent a huge condo where a dozen initially shy teens come together for snow tubing and all night conversations. By the time they come home, new strengths to persevere and friendships have been discovered.

Our parents, too, enjoy some respite. The weekend starts with a special private time were couples are pampered and given an opportunity to reconnect. The next day, they come together as a group and guest speakers provide sessions on communication skills, anger management, coping, stress relief and relaxation techniques. During CAMP UNITED we encourage parents to reestablish their commitment to each other and through a united front fight the battle of childhood cancer together.


• ACTIVITY CENTER is a safe, educational, and interactive environment for patients and their families while the children wait for test results or while seeing their physician. To help our families feel at home, we offer a waiting area, library, and internet services as well as a play area with activities such as arts and crafts, videos, and computer games.We are staffed with a Family Case Manager with a degree in social psychology.Experienced in early childhood development, she helps the children and their family members cope with their treatment through techniques that include therapeutic play, creative art therapies, and self expression activities.Our program is also structured to provide therapeutic services to help reduce the stress and strain on the family and the marriage.

• ESPERANZA PROGRAM provides training and support workshops to caregivers with a special focus on stress reducing techniques, communication techniques, and educational workshops focusing on childhood cancer, nutrition, exercise, finances, anger management and parenting skills.These workshops are offered in English and Spanish.The workshops provide critically needed emotional and psychological assistance to help the families during time of overwhelming stresses and concerns.

• REMEMBER ALWAYS is a one-day seminar providing information to individuals who have lost a child to a catastrophic illness such as cancer.For many parents, life after the child’s death is unbearable; thus we explore different programs and activities that help families live beyond the death of their child.

• SCHOOL RE-ENTRY CONFERENCE informs teachers, school nurses, principals, counselors, and the community at large about the difficulties that may arise from misunderstanding the physical, academic, and emotional repercussions or side effects of childhood cancer.Many of our children must pursue an education home bound or in the hospital. When the joyous occasion arises to be readmitted into the public school system, not everyone is prepared to deal with it.Our focus is to reunite and effectively integrate the child back into the system through an educational opportunity of understanding for the institution.

Related Posts

Rio Grande Cancer Foundation

© 2024 The Rio Grande Cancer Foundation, All Rights Reserved. Admin Login  |  Designed & Developed by pixelByte.