Battling cancer takes a toll on every aspect of one’s life. The staggering costs don’t stop at medical bills. That’s why the Children’s Cancer Caring Center goes above and beyond to provide not only state-of-the-art medical care, but also a comprehensive network of totally free, non-medical ancillary programs for patients and their families – all at no cost whatsoever.
The Family Fund is aptly named in honor of its mission – to preserve the family unit. Through a combination of confidential financial assistance and positive emotional support, the Family Fund provides essential non-medical aid for struggling families.
This vital program supplies limited transportation and repairs to family vehicles used for clinic visits, temporary family lodging at the Ronald McDonald House, temporary household expenses and groceries for provisionally unemployed parents, and school supplies and clothing for patients.
For families whose children have unfortunately lost their battle with cancer, the Family Fund assists those unable to meet funeral expenses, assuring their child is buried with dignity and honor.
Our Love and Wishes program was created in 1983 with the purpose of providing hope and inspiration for patients fighting the lengthy battle against cancer. Every child, no matter their prognosis, receives a “special card” on which he or she writes their most desired wish. In 2002, when eight-year-old Joey S. began to lose her battle against leukemia, she was flown to Colorado to meet her favorite movie star, John Travolta.
Travolta greeted Joey with a warm embrace and made her almost unimaginable dream come true. Joey had powerful new inspiration that helped to strengthen her fight in battling cancer. Tragically, in Joey’s early 20’s, she passed away as a result of an unfortunate accident unrelated to cancer. Joey’s Love and Wishes Program continues to lift children’s spirits and provides courage and determination to continue on the path to recovery.
Camp Fiesta is one of our center’s most beloved programs, often referred to as “The Greatest Camp in the History of the World.” In 1985, Camp Fiesta was created as the official pediatric oncology camp of the Children’s Cancer Caring Center. Located in Broward County’s gorgeous Birch State Park, Camp Fiesta is South Florida’s first and largest camp for children with cancer.
Every summer over 50 patients, ages 7-17 from our center and other tri-county hospitals, come together for an unforgettable experience at this 9-day sleep-away camp. Parents can trust that their children are in the safest of hands – as Camp Fiesta is medically staffed around the clock, and boasts a counselor-to-camper ratio of 1 to 3. Sleeping accommodations are in newly-renovated, air-conditioned cabins, equipped with TVs and DVD players. Most counselors are cancer survivors who were former campers, giving children hope and inspiration for their future.
Camp activities include swimming, sports, beach trips, canoeing, fishing, arts and crafts, and an educational mock trial with judge Marilyn Milian, star of “The People’s Court.” Kids will enjoy exciting field trips, including a three day/two night adventure to Disney World, Universal Studios, and Busch Gardens.
Some families travel far from home to give their children the best possible treatment at our center. Oftentimes, treatment plans can last weeks or months, displacing and dividing these families. The Children’s Cancer Caring Center believes that a supportive family unit is one of the best healing treatments for children battling this life-altering disease.
That is why we provide fully-funded housing with the Home Away From Home program at the Ronald McDonald House. At every home, guests can enjoy home-cooked meals, private bedrooms, and playrooms for children.
At select housing, additional services may be available, such as accredited education programs, recreational activities, sibling support services, non-clinical support services, and special suites for children with suppressed immune systems. The Home Away From Home program keeps families together when they need it the most, ensuring that parents can focus on what matters most – loving and supporting their child as they heal.
The path to recovery for children stricken with cancer can be extremely isolating. Through regular group outings and special events, patients can connect with other children who are experiencing similar struggles, creating strong bonds that last a lifetime.
Patients will enjoy the opportunity to attend sporting events, theatrical performances, the annual Holiday Extravaganza, and more. Through our center’s events, a strong network of patients, families, and survivors can form to foster hope, compassion, and inspiration for a healthy future.