Family Assistance

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!

Family Assistance

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, with gift cards distributed for gas or grocery needs.

Eligibility Requirements
  • 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.

Priority is given to requests pertaining directly to utility bills, rent, mortgage, phone bills, grocery needs, and emergency car maintenance.

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.

Family Spotlight

The Santillan Family

Three-year-old Tatiana and her mom, Juana, like to eat, cook, and watch movies together. Her favorite toys are Minnie Mouse, Frozen, and unicorns. She enjoys watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Minnie Mouse. Her favorite foods? Beans, all kinds of berries (black...

The Perkins Family

14 year old Alex is a die hard San Francisco 49r fan, whose favorite player is Jimmy Garoppolo. Alex loves anything Marvel. He watches all the movies, reads the comics, collects the figures, and even wrote Marvel and received an honorary avenger badge. Alex loves the...

Healing on the Farm

  After her son Julian was diagnosed with childhood cancer in 2019 and died in 2020, Jennifer Bridges, founder of Embrace Compassion, decided to honor his memory by making life brighter for kids with cancer. She and her family opened their farm to local families...

McCormick Family

I had never heard of retinoblastoma until I was sitting with an ophthalmologist with Derek, then 1, while 36 weeks 5 days pregnant with my second child. The Dr. was so kind. He told me to drive to Portland and be the first person in the Casey Eye Institute parking lot...

Simpson Wight Family

"In November of 2014, I noticed my 8 year old son Robert, had a swollen lymph node of the side of his neck. He felt fine and had no other symptoms, yet this swollen lymph node was large and didn't go away. I was refused appointments with his pediatrician, who insisted...

Thull Family

Jared was 11 years old when he got sick. Just about to graduate from 5th grade. It took some time to get a diagnosis. June 18, 2018, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) subtype b high risk. He is in long term maintenance and is expected to be off...

Gunsaulis Family

  Our story is like most others. You never think it can happen to "your" child. Ashlynn had just turned 4 years old and was complaining that her back was hurting. It had been hot for a few days and she fell asleep on the hardwood floor with her dog, so I figured...

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.

Snack Pantry

The snack pantry at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital offers hearty snacks and small meals to feed hungry tummies any time of the day. It can supplement hospital meals or provide relief for families who cannot afford snacks otherwise.

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 Ellar. If you’re looking to help Candlelighters keep the pantry full, please see our shopping list on Amazon.

Dinner at Doernbecher and Lunch at Randall Children’s Hospitals

NOTE: These meal programs are currently on hold due to COVID-19 safety measures in place at hospitals.

Sometimes you just need a good snack or a hot meal to help make a tough day a little brighter. Candlelighters wants to make sure that families in the hospital are provided with meals to keep them going through their days.

We also want to make sure more time can be spent by their child’s side, and less time searching for a meal. Purchasing additional meals can be costly, as well, and our aim with both our in-hospital meals and snack pantry is to help ease that burden.

Dinner at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital provides 24 meals annually to upwards of 75 individuals on a busy night, and impacts an average of 15–20 families.

Providing lunch to patients and their families at Randall Children’s Hospital makes a long, hard day a little bit easier. Here we serve 12 lunches annually and make a difference for 10–15 families during their stay.

Bedside Buddies

Each month, Candlelighters delivers nearly 100 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.

Volunteer Spotlight

Partner Spotlight: Don Jones of John L. Scott

We know that Don Jones of John L Scott Real Estate has been a rider and that John L Scott has been a  sponsor of Ride for a Child for years. But we wanted to learn more about the how and why he chose to give to Ride for a Child...Here's his story. Q How did you get...

Central Oregon Chair, Kimberly Banner

"I first learned about Candlelighters in 2014, when my daughter was diagnosed with AML at the age of 10. We stayed at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital throughout her treatment and met some of the Candlelighters staff when they served dinner or stocked the food pantry....

Lauren Conn, Candlelighters Programs Intern

I am a Programs Intern at Candlelighters in my final year of the Bachelor’s in Social Work program at Portland State University.  I wanted to intern at Candlelighters because I hope to get my Master’s degree in social work and become a pediatric hospital social...

Margie Jones

If you've ever received a thank you note from Candlelighters, you would recognize Margie Jones's beautiful handwriting. Margie shows up cheerfully every week at the Candlelighters office, ready to file, enter data, hand write thank you letters, or anything else that...

Daniel Connors

Daniel Connors is one of those people who shows up when needed, on time and always with a smile. He doesn't expect credit, and it wasn't until we started looking for pictures of him did we realize just how many Candlelighters events he has been part of - Golf to...

Salena Griffith

The Holidays around Candlelighters this year looked a little different. Our usual in-person events manifested in different ways to keep families safe. However, one thing that hasn't changed is the sight of Salena unloading present after beautifully wrapped present for...


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 Timeline
  • February 1, 2022: Application period opens.
  • April 3, 2022: Scholarships due.
  • June 3, 2022: Winners announced.
  • July/August 2022: Scholarship Awards sent to colleges.
2021–2022 Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to our three Scholarship Recipients for the 2021–2022 Academic Year: Erin Morrison, Cameron Caldwell, and Anna Seely, all childhood cancer survivors with big dreams. Each recipient’s past experience as a childhood cancer survivor has helped shape their lives, values, and goals in unique ways.

2020–2021 Scholarship Selection Process

Thank you to our volunteer committee members for your thorough review of the applications, and the challenging task of selection: Melissa Rose, Margie Jones, Alisha Steigerwald, and Lauren Conn.

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’ 2021–2022 scholarship initiative, in memory of Owen Stolte.

2021-2022 Scholarship Recipients
Erin Morrison
Erin Morrison
Cameron Caldwell
Cameron Caldwell
Anna Seely
Anna Seely

Candy Cane Lane

In addition to Candlelighters’ Emergency Financial Assistance available throughout the year, 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!

For more information about Candy Cane Lane 2022, watch this space, sign up for our newsletter, or reach out to Lisa.

For sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, please contact Camille.

Candy Cane Lane 2020

Resources for Parents and Caregivers

Your well-being is important to us.

You asked for more resources, and we want to make sure that you know about all of the resources available to you, so we compiled this PDF* covering a wide range of organizations and information specifically related to childhood cancer.

General Resources*

Please see below for ideas on keeping busy at home, as well as links to other websites with information on COVID-19 support guides, helpful apps, and articles. 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.

Storyline Online
Listen to story time featuring celebrated actors.

Activities for Kids
Book lists and articles to help encourage learning and engagement.

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.

Ways to Pass the Time
Meditation Apps

Meditation and mindfulness for any mind, mood, or goal.

Insight Timer
Free app for sleep, anxiety, and stress.

Coronavirus Support Guides & Useful Articles

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide

Marie Forleo
Coronavirus Support Guide: How to Stay Strong & Navigate This Time Together

Oregon Coronavirus Layoffs
What to do when you’ve lost your job.

Washington State Employment Security Department
For workers and businesses affected by COVID-19.

Comprehensive Lists of Resources

Information about food pantries, shelters, utility assistance programs, information in Spanish, ideas on entertainment, etc.

Please check your local school district’s websites for your local resources. Many are providing free grab-and-go meals, remote learning resources, and more information on local support in your community.

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).

Eating Disorders
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 Candlelighters is not affiliated with, endorsing, or recommending any of these organizations or activities.

Family Activities

KeyBank Financial Workshop

Survivors & siblings: It's exciting to think about making your own money! But...are you ready to manage it? KeyBank is offering Candlelighters teens, youth and families strategies for savings and spending. And because we know it'll make adulting more fun...this...

Applications for Family Camp 2022

Our beloved annual family camp is back, and applications for Family Camp are now open! Family Camp is a 3-day getaway for families at any stage of the pediatric cancer journey and bereaved families. Join us and experience the magic of camp by connecting with other...

Parent & Caregiver Support Group – June

The Parent & Caregiver Support Group meets on the first Wednesday of each month. This is a chance to meet other parents and caregivers of children with cancer so that you can share your thoughts, stories, and concerns relating to childhood cancer. If there’s a...

Candlelighters Updated COVID-19 Safety Measures

Candlelighters is excited to have families together once again. We appreciate your patience and flexibility through the pandemic as we continue to find safe ways to bring our community together. As we anticipate our upcoming family gatherings, the Candlelighters staff...

Candlelighters Spring Family Activities

Each month, we have recurring online meetings for parents and youth that are open to all families and chapters. Luminaries Youth Group The Luminaries is Candlelighters youth and young adult program whose focus is on increasing positive social interactions amongst...

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