33 ways Courage of Carly helps kids with cancer and blood disorders

33 ways Courage of Carly helps kids with cancer and blood disorders.

When little Carly Collard Cottone founded the Courage of Carly Fund (called Carly’s Club then), she knew she was going to help kids just like her. That was her mission, and that continued to be her legacy even after her passing. You can read more about Carly’s story here.

Carly would have celebrated her 33rd birthday this year on March 5. In her honor, we want to highlight 33 ways the Courage of Carly Fund is able to help kids with cancer and blood disorders.

Happy birthday, Carly!

Diversionary Programs.

1. Caregiver and parent events – The caregivers and parents of our pediatric patients give their child their all. It’s only right that we take the time to lift them up, take them out and remind them they’re special.

2. Teen programming – Teen years hold so much already without the addition of cancer or a blood disorder. Our teens deserve dedicated, age-appropriate nurturing and fun through programs and events to help them feel themselves.

3. Programs for the whole family – A cancer or blood disorder diagnosis doesn’t just affect one person, it can affect the whole family. So we work hard to make space for families to spend time all together (and with other families experiencing similar things!) and make memories that will last a lifetime.

4. Wellness events – Sometimes, in the midst of appointments, treatments, stressful checkups and scans, our members need to recenter. We work to hold events like Roswell Strong (hoping to come back soon post-pandemic!) to provide opportunities for yoga, sound healing and other mind-body programs.

5. Sibling appreciation celebrations – We LOVE our Super Sibs. Siblings are like no other friends in the world. So we take special time out every year to make sure they know how much they are loved and appreciated by our patients.

6. Group tickets to special events – When your family is concerned about health and safety, it’s sometimes tough to get out into the community for some fun. Luckily, Courage of Carly is able to send some of our patients to fun sports games, concerts and other events in Western New York.

7. Buffalo Sabres annual holiday visit – Our friends, the Buffalo Sabres, are always up for a big day of fun around the winter holidays! Games, activities, autographs and goofing around are always sure to be on the agenda. What a fun way to celebrate winter in Buffalo!

Child Life Programs.

8. Beads of Courage – Every child’s story is unique and beautiful, just like they are. Through Beads of Courage, our patients can tell their story in an equally unique and beautiful way. Each bead represents a different thing they’ve gone through in their journey with cancer.

9. Stress balls and fidget toys – There can be a lot of nervous energy in a hospital. Sometimes a kid or caregiver needs something to keep their hands or their mind occupied while they wait.

10. Gabe’s Chemo Duck – Let’s be honest, chemotherapy can be really scary, too. With Chemo Duck, a cuddly pal to come along for treatment, it can be a little less scary. Chemo Duck wears scrubs and helps young patients get more comfortable with getting the care they need.

11. ACCO Medical Play Kits – Learning about tools at the doctor’s office can make visits less overwhelming. These play kits help our patients understand what to expect when they need care.

12. Pill Swallowing Kits – Swallowing pills can be tricky, especially for kids. These kits help kids learn how to take their oral medicine using little candies as practice.

13. Port Care – Some of our Courage of Carly members have ports, and those require special care. We’re able to provide port shirts that have strategic zippers to allow port access without leaving a kid too chilly. We’re also happy to have special adhesive remover for families to keep everything nice and clean and comfy.

14. Books – There’s a lot to learn and a lot to unpack when a child is battle cancer or a blood disorder. Our team has a collection of books approved by our experts to help with disease education and coping with the realities of living with cancer.

15. Buzzy Bees – It doesn’t matter how big and brave you are, needles can be scary. Thankfully, Courage of Carly has Buzzy Bees to help out. These little vibrating bees with icepack wings help our kiddos sit really bravely for their shots.

Sickle Cell Disease Programs.

16. Sickle Cell Disease Graduation – Sickle Cell Disease is a lifelong illness. Moving up from pediatric care to adult care is a huge step for our Courage of Carly members. We want to be with them every step of the way, including a celebratory graduation bell ringing!

17. Newborn Coping Kits – When your newborn baby is sick, baby and parents all need some support. These kits have a little stuffie and board books for our littlest patients and a thermometer, journal and various awareness items for their caregivers.

18. Thermometers and Pill Containers – Sometimes the little things, the necessities we might take for granted are the more important. We have thermometers and pill containers on hand for our members who need them.

Clinic and Patient Experience.

19. Playroom – Our patients have a chance to enjoy themselves a bit in the playroom while they’re here. There, they can do crafts, play with toys or video games or watch something on Disney+.

20. Art – Creativity can be so healing for people of all ages. Opportunities to make art solo or with others is a great way to express yourself and process what you’re thinking and feeling. We’re so lucky that our art program is sponsored by Ride for Roswell Team Kids Just Want to Have Fun.

21. Snacks – Who doesn’t love snacks?! We have a range of delicious snacks for our kids and families because sometimes they’re spending long days in the hospital.

22. Parent Lounge – Parents have a chance for coffee and a moment for themselves at this coffee bar just for our brave caregivers.

23. Parking Passes – Treatment is already a lot. We’re happy to take care of parking passes for our patients so there’s one less thing to worry about when you come into Roswell Park for a visit.

24. iPads – Time can tick by slowly during a long day in clinic. Thankfully we have some iPads for patients to borrow if they’re not feeling up to playroom fun but still need a distraction in their bay.

25. Birthday celebrations – Every day with our patients is special, but birthdays are EXTRA special. Let’s celebrate another year with each child we see at Roswell Park.

26. Milestone celebrations – If you’ve ever been in the Roswell Park main hospital lobby, you may have had the opportunity to hear a bell ringing in the light of a huge window. That’s the Victory Bell! Our patients have a special, colorful, pediatric bell next to the adult bell to ring at the end of treatment or at any milestone they want to celebrate along the way.

27. Toy cabinet – Courage of Carly is happy to have toys and activity books to give out to kiddos who are having really great days or really tough days. Occasionally you just need a little pick-me-up to bring a smile around.

28. Themed celebrations in clinic – If there’s one thing about our incredible pediatric team, they know how to have fun with a theme! Whether it’s a holiday or sports celebration, spirit week or awareness day, our themed celebrations help to uplift our patients their families.

29. Survivorship Guidebook – Life changes after you’ve had cancer. There’s a lot to know and a good deal to remember. We’re happy to provide this guidebook to help our survivors navigate their very bright and beautiful life ahead of them.

Other Amazing Stuff!

An infant receives treatment at Roswell Park

30. New member comfort kits – When we meet a new member, we love to gift them with a T-shirt, sweatshirt, water bottle, hat, squishy toy, popsocket, pens, sanitizer and Courage of Carly branded goodies to say welcome!

31. Gift cards – Donors are so kind to help us provide all kinds of gift cards to online stores or places around Western New York that can alleviate some of the burden from our families.

32. School outreach materials – Roswell Park pediatric psychologists make visits to our patients’ schools with family consent to help educate our patients’ teachers and peers about what they’re going through. We’re always looking to expand and improve this program, to help spread awareness and understanding and bring lots of compassion to kids battling these illnesses in the community.

33. Research – Maybe the longest-lasting, most forward-thinking thing Courage of Carly helps to provide. Cancer research is so critical, and pediatric cancer most of all. Cancer in kids is different from that in adults and requires it’s own specialized research, studies and clinical trials.

 

With YOUR support, Courage of Carly is able to be there for our pediatric patients and families in these ways and so many more.