Dreaming Big Takes Families Facing Pediatric Cancer From Surviving to Thriving

Source: Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation

Every September, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF) invites the community to join them in celebrating National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month through their Gold Ribbon campaign. Community participation clearly demonstrates that families battling childhood cancer are not alone. May they live in a community of compassionate allies united in solidarity with TBCF in a collective effort to fight for the most valuable of us, our children.

As these little heroes battle an unfair and cruel disease on a daily basis, their parents regularly navigate to doctor’s appointments, high medical bills, geographically dispersed and distant hospital stays, academic struggles for the child in treatment (and their other children), and a host of other relentless stressors. . TBCF’s Gold Ribbon campaign is bringing this harsh reality to the consciousness of our community to raise awareness and mobilize an effective and compassionate response to the adversity facing local families.

COVID-19 only added to the setbacks of these families’ traumatic experience with the added challenges of lost income, food insecurity and loss of access to vital resources as most support organizations curtailed or reduced their programs. In addition, most evident was the extreme fear of keeping an immunocompromised child safe all day during a global pandemic. Parents watching television watching healthy people die from Covid, knowing their child is at greater risk only added an unimaginable new layer of terror. Fortunately, thanks to the support of the Tri-State Community, TBCF was able to answer a call to action by accessing their “Special Circumstances Fund” to provide additional financial assistance to families, as well as a gift of more than $37,000 in gift cards, grocery cards, and more. gas coupons for families. TBCF also ensured that their personal emotional support groups were kept virtual, and as a result were able to double the number of support groups offered each month. TBCF doubled the number of families receiving special deliveries for Project Christmas, Project Valentine’s Day and Project Easter, all of which instilled much-needed holiday cheer and moments of joy.

The past year has shown that great adversity calls for big dreams, and this year TBCF is asking the community not only to be aware of and support the families they serve, but also to dream big with them so they can live their lives. families from surviving to thriving. . With the catalyst of generous seed capital to buy a building, they are focused on playing a more critical role in filling the service gaps. As a mission-driven organization, they are encouraging their families to dream big, and TBCF will try to weave the family dreams into their new space. There are a number of ways the community can participate in the Gold Ribbon campaign and raise awareness and funds. TBCF hopes the community will dream big as they raise a call to action to help the families they serve find a way to experience and realize their big dreams.

Ariya Ramos, the Face of TBCF’s 2021 Gold Ribbon Campaign

TBCF is proud to announce Ariya Ramos as the featured child of the 2021 Gold Ribbon campaign. TBCF will share and honor her uplifting story as a way to spread positive light during this difficult time amid a global health crisis.

In May 2018, lively three-year-old Aryia complained of stomach pains. She stopped eating, couldn’t sleep, and cried a lot. After numerous doctor visits, she was no better. Ariya’s mother requested an ultrasound, and then an abnormality in her liver was discovered. A CT scan revealed that Aryia had a softball-sized tumor in her stomach. This news came just three months after her parents bought their first home.

Ariya’s family was sent from their home in Santa Maria to the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, where she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer. The family started their struggle and spent the next six months undergoing chemotherapy every three weeks in Los Angeles. The emotional and physical stress of chemotherapy was difficult, despite the added stress of traveling back and forth to LA every 3 weeks. Fortunately, doctors were able to remove 90% of Ariya’s tumor with resections, but she lost most of one kidney.

Brave Aryia underwent two stem cell transplants, 12 days of radiation and six months of immunotherapy before celebrating her victory with an End-of-Chemo Party in 2019! She is currently in maintenance and is a radiant ball of energy! In 2020, she was able to share her light with TBCF’s child support groups and virtual events.

Of course, the bills piled up during her treatment and her parents received $4,250 in direct financial aid from TBCF to relieve some of their stress so they could focus on Ariya’s care. Aryia was tutored by TBCF and will receive an additional $1,500 in aid this fall to help cover the cost of neuropsychological testing. We’re confident she’ll make it to first grade so she can fulfill her big dreams of becoming a paleontologist, vet, nurse, and doctor!

About TBCF
Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation advocates for families in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties who have a child with cancer by providing financial, educational, and emotional support. For more information and to donate, visit their website at TeddyBearCancerFoundation.org.

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