Candlelighters’ family assistance puts families first, coming alongside the whole family as they face pediatric cancer and journey through the unknown.
Whether you need rent assistance, a meal in the hospital, holiday cheer, or are looking for resources to help navigate these difficult times for your family, we are here for you!
Scholarship Applications for the 2023/2024 academic year are closed as of April 15.
Follow here and on social media for news on the 2023/2024 scholarship recipients.
Application Timeline For 2023-2024 Academic Year
February 15: Opening of the application period.
April 15: Scholarship applications due.
May 12: All applicants notified of status. Finalists are contacted.
May 24 – 26: Scholarship finalist Interviews.
June 2: Scholarship recipients notified.
July 15 – 31: Scholarship Awards sent to colleges.
About Candlelighters Scholarships
In 1996, Candlelighters For Children With Cancer established the Candlelighters Continuing Education Scholarship Program. We recognize that families can amass overwhelming debt in medical bills after years of treatment, follow-up appointments, and ongoing medical issues caused by treatment. The journey doesn’t stop for families, and Candlelighters’ support doesn’t stop either.
Candlelighters’ family assistance in the form of these scholarships is awarded to high school seniors or current college students who have previously been or are currently diagnosed with cancer to support their pursuit of a higher education.
2022–2023 Scholarship Recipients
Congratulations to our three scholarship recipients for the 2022–2023 academic year: Grace Ujifasa, Samantha Mederos, and Saydee King, all childhood cancer survivors with big dreams. Each recipient’s experience as a childhood cancer survivor has helped shape their lives, values, and goals in unique ways.
2023–2024 Scholarship Selection Process
Thank you to our volunteer scholarship committee members for your thorough review of the applications, and the challenging task of selection.
These volunteers have a diversity of backgrounds, including being a parent of a child diagnosed with cancer, a social worker student intern who works with children and teens, and a professional scholarship reviewer.
Candlelighters would like to thank the Hougard and Tilden families for providing the critical funding to support Candlelighters’ 2023–2024 scholarship initiative, in memory of Owen Stolte.
Sign Up for Candlelighters Scholarship News!
Sign up to be notified when applications for the 2024–2025 Candlelighters Continuing Education Scholarships open in 2024.
Financial assistance is awarded to high school seniors or current college students who have previously been or are currently diagnosed with cancer and reside in Oregon and SW Washington, to support their pursuit of a higher education.
2022–2023 Scholarship Recipients
Emergency Financial Assistance
The stress of a diagnosis and treatment plan can be overwhelming. Having to deal with bills on top of that should not have to be a worry.
We want to help provide as much support as possible, and get families back to focusing on what matters most: their loved ones. The goal of Candlelighters’ family assistance is less time worrying about paying bills, and more time spent together as a family.
Families who meet the eligibility requirements below and need help on a recurring bill may receive up to $599.00 per budget year (January–December). The amount requested will be paid directly to the institution or business.
- A family with a child 21 years of age or younger currently in treatment for cancer.
- Some related illnesses treated by chemotherapy, radiation, and/or a bone marrow transplant—though technically not cancer—will also be considered.
How to Request Funds
- A hospital social worker or hospital medical staff person must apply on behalf of the family.
- Social workers will make the request by having the family fill out an Emergency Financial Assistance application, signed by a parent.
- Parent(s) must sign Candlelighters’ New Family Form, provided by the social worker.
In order to apply for Emergency Financial Assistance, contact your assigned social worker who can help walk you through the process. If you have not been assigned a social worker, please get in contact with Ruth or call 503-719-4244.
In-Hospital Family Assistance
Being in the hospital is tough enough. Candlelighters is there for support every step of the way.
We understand that both inpatient and outpatient stays come with their own challenges. We hope that providing in-hospital programs to our families can alleviate some of the stress that comes with them. From meals and snacks to cuddly friends that make pokes easier, Candlelighters’ family assistance in the hospital provides comfort during a difficult time.
The snack pantry at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital offers hearty snacks and small meals to feed hungry tummies any time of the day. It supplements hospital meals for kids and provides meals and snacks for their families who are in the hospital with their loved one. Sourcing and scheduling a meal or snack between tests, Dr. visits, and shots can be challenging and expensive for parents who are needed at the bedside of their sick child. The convenience of a free, convenient meal gives families more time to be their child, and helps to offset the many costs of cancer.
Located in the Family Kitchen on 10 South, our snack pantry serves nearly 500 families a year.
If your family is in treatment, and you have a specific request for food items in the pantry, please email Lisa. If you’re looking to help Candlelighters keep the pantry full, please see our shopping list on Amazon.
Each month, Candlelighters delivers lovable, cuddly Bedside Buddies to children at Doernbecher and Randall who have recently been diagnosed with cancer.
These soft, furry stuffed animals are cheerfully waiting on hospital beds to greet any newly admitted child, and there to cling to for reassurance when a child is facing a painful procedure, chemotherapy, scans, and more. Our Bedside Buddies can also be found in the arms of children in outpatient oncology and radiation clinics.
Although they are only a small distraction from the difficult path each child travels with cancer, they still provide comfort and can bring a smile on a tough day.
If you would like to organize a drive for Bedside Buddies, or donate new Bedside Buddies, you can order directly from our Bedside Buddy Wish List or read through our donation guidelines. If you have any questions about donating Bedside Buddies, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Resources for Candlelighters Families
Your well-being is important to us.
You asked for more resources—and we want to make sure that all of our families are aware of the resources available to them—so we have compiled this PDF* covering a broad range of organizations, information, and support as you navigate this journey.
Within this resource PDF you will find cancer-specific resources by category, grief and bereavement support resources by location, and general (not cancer-specific) resource guides by county in Oregon.
Please see below for ideas on keeping busy at home, as well as links to other websites with comprehensive resources lists, information on COVID-19, helpful apps, and more.
If you have ideas or links to resources that you think would be useful to our community, please email Lisa.
Fun Things To Do at Home with Kids
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
Mo welcomes you into his studio at home and guides you through drawing and writing activities.
Listen to story time featuring celebrated actors.
Activities for Kids
Book lists and articles to help encourage learning and engagement.
Bill Nye Home Demos
Science experiments to try at home.
Tiny Beans Fun & Games
From the best games and books to DIY crafts and experiments, find everything you need for hours of entertainment.
18 At-Home Ideas to Keep Kids Busy
Useful resources to help keep kids busy, entertained, and learning at home.
Simple Activities with Kids
Easy ideas to help pass the time and make memories.
Virtual Ways to Pass the Time
Aquarium Live Webcams
- Aquarium of the Pacific
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium
- Georgia Aquarium
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- National Aquarium
- Tennessee Aquarium
Zoo Live Webcams
- Bronx Zoo
- Chattanooga Zoo
- Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
- Houston Zoo
- Indianapolis Zoo
- Kansas City Zoo
- Maryland Zoo
- Memphis Zoo
- Milwaukee County Zoo
- National Zoo
- Oakland Zoo
- San Diego Zoo
- Sedgwick County Zoo
Comprehensive Resource Lists
Search for food pantries in your area, plus resources for subsidized groceries.
Search by service type and location—or use the Guided Search—to locate services for housing and shelter, utility assistance, childcare, transportation, employment, financial wellness, and more.
Oregon Statewide General Resource Sheet
Includes resources for COVID-19, mental health, parenting, food needs, and education.
Washington Community Services
Community resources and assistance (including financial, food, and medical) for Washington State.
COVID-19 Resources, Information, and Support Guides
General Resource Lists & Support Guides
- U.S. Federal COVID-19 Resources
- NAMI COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide
- COVID-19 Emergency Relief Resources for Portland & Beyond
- Community Resources for COVID Impacts for Lane County & Oregon
- Coronavirus Support Guide: How to Stay Strong & Navigate This Time Together
- U.S. Department of Labor Coronavirus Resources
- USDOL Wage and Hour Division Essential Protections
- Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division COVID-19 Updates
- COVID-19 and Oregon OSHA
- Oregon Coronavirus Layoffs: What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Job
- Washington State Employment Security Department COVID-19 Information
- COVID-19: What People with Cancer Should Know
- Coronavirus, COVID-19, and Cancer
- What Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Caregivers Need to Know about COVID-19
Meditation & Mindfulness Apps
A personalized, all-in-one app for emotional health.
An emotional well-being app designed by BIWOC specifically for BIWOC.
Meditation and mindfulness for any mind, mood, or goal.
Free app for sleep, anxiety, and stress.
Includes curated courses and collections for delving more deeply into specific topics and areas of life.
The Mindfulness App
Offers an introduction to mindfulness, guided meditations, timed sessions, and more.
Practice free daily meditation and mindfulness exercises.
Helplines and Crisis Lines
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor for free, 24/7 support.
Domestic Violence Support
Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), chat live, or text START to 88788.
National Suicide Prevention
Free, confidential, 24/7 support: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Chat online, or call or text 1-800-931-2237.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Free, confidential, 24/7 treatment referral and information services: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
*Please note that we are not affiliated with and do not endorse or recommend any organizations or activities referenced within these resources outside of those provided by Candlelighters For Children With Cancer.
Candy Cane Lane
Candy Cane Lane is a gift sponsorship program for Candlelighters families in need of financial assistance during the holiday season. Candlelighters matches eligible families to a sponsor, and then supplies sponsors with the wish list for each family member. In December, families visit Candy Cane Lane to pick up holiday gifts, and enjoy a festive event with treats, characters, photo ops, and more!
If you already submitted your application, we’ll follow up with the details.
For sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, please contact Camille.
Leukemia and Carcinoma Survivor
Through Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Candlelighters, I have been awarded opportunities to be healed and I am forever grateful. Thank you for this amazing award, Candlelighters!
Grace is a music enthusiast who loves dogs, writing, the color green, and playing the piano. In high school, Grace enjoyed being the Student Body President, as well as co-president of a club she founded.
In the fall, Grace will be attending the University of Utah Honors College, where she will study history and astronomy.
Grace has overcome childhood leukemia (2008) and papillary thyroid carcinoma (2021). These two types of cancer have given her many challenges, yet beating them has given Grace a better sense of what is important: human connection.
I received so much support through the Candlelighters camps and other programs. And my parents and sister also benefitted greatly from the activities, education, and developing friendships with other “cancer kid” families. I am unbelievably thankful for this scholarship! Financing college is very stressful and this opportunity will take some of the burden off of mine and my family’s shoulders.
Samantha will be attending Washington State University-Pullman in the fall, and plans on studying Psychology and Environmental Science. With her degree, she hopes to go into a career that will allow her to facilitate positive change.
Samantha has been a three-sport athlete through her four years of high school, playing soccer, tennis, and basketball. Her basketball team was the State Champion for their division in 2019, and this past season they made it to state again. Samantha is very proud to say that she is graduating as a salutatorian of her class. Samantha also likes to be busy filling her time with a rigorous course load, spending time with her friends, playing with her dogs, being active through sports, and working at Sweetwater SUP.
Samantha’s cancer journey taught her to take advantage of this life, and live every day like it is her last. She is grateful for her experience with leukemia, as she believes that she is more empathetic and understanding because of it.
I am strong, and I can handle anything no matter how difficult it is.
Saydee was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor at 7 years old and has had multiple surgeries and scans to keep track of her brain tumor. Despite it all, Saydee knows that she can overcome anything: “I am strong, and I can handle anything no matter how difficult it is,” she says.
Saydee enjoys caring for other people. She is inspired by the nurses and doctors who cared for her when she was struggling, and would like to pursue a career in the medical field.
Saydee is currently getting her A.A. in Science at Portland Community College, and is considering a career in nursing.