Connecting Families

Candlelighters was started in 1977 from a desire to connect families. Now, 45 years later, that passion is still at the heart of what we do and how we serve.

Our vision for fostering transformational, lifelong relationships begins with supporting the entire family as they face childhood cancer together—from diagnosis through treatment and beyond—and embracing them into a community that understands what they’re going through.

No matter where you are in your journey, we are here for and with you.

Candlelighters Family Camp


Candlelighters In-Person Family Camp is Back in 2022, and camp applications are now open!

What is Candlelighters Family Camp? A three-day getaway at Camp Harlow for families facing pediatric cancer. Join us as we come together and experience the magic of Family Camp while horseback riding, zip-lining, swimming, riding go-karts and bumper boats, getting creative in art workshops, and more!

Family Camp is 100% free of charge and happening over Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3–5, 2022).

CLICK HERE to apply.

About Candlelighters Family Camp

Since 1995, every Labor Day weekend we have hosted Family Camp in Eugene, OR for all Candlelighters family members. These three incredible days are filled with laughter, play, connecting, love, and healing.

Our families come together and get the opportunity to experience the magic of Family Camp while horseback riding, zip-lining, swimming, riding go-karts and bumper boats, attending campfires, and so much more! This is a weekend for families to come together and create lifelong memories.

Candlelighters Family Camp is offered to children diagnosed with cancer and their families. Attendance is 100% free of charge, ensuring that all families who are interested in having the Family Camp experience can participate regardless of socioeconomic status or trying to balance medical bills during treatment.

What makes Candlelighters Family Camp unique is that the experience is for the entire family. Parents, siblings, and even the child living with cancer enjoy a weekend where the worries of treatments and associated struggles are left behind.

That’s a Wrap! Camp Outside the Box 2021

On August 29, 2021, for the second year running, we held Camp Outside the Box, a virtual scavenger hunt where families create, find, build, and laugh together to try to beat the clock and complete the list of camp-related tasks before other families do.

For 2021, we had 30 teams or families that participated in the 26 missions, with over 510 submissions throughout the six-hour event! Phew! Twelve families completed all 26 missions. Congrats to all the participants!

Camp Outside the Box was truly a wonderful way to spend the day: seeing friendly faces, furry friends, messy kitchens, favorite stuffed animals, and hidden talents. Some family-favorite missions were creating an instructional video of how to set up a tent (with whatever you have on hand), recreating camp sounds, dancing like nobody is watching, and one of our favorites: recording, drawing, or writing something nice about another team’s picture or video.

T-Shirt Design Contest

Each year, Candlelighters creates a new Family Camp t-shirt. The last two years, we have held a design contest, with the winner’s design as the focal point of the shirt.

Meet the winner of 2021’s t-shirt design contest, Jacey Rhodes! Jacey and her husband are the parents of two boys: Austin and 5-year-old Eli, who has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia this past year. Jacey came up with the design while she was doodling with her boys, trying to keep them entertained.

Jacey chose to donate back the prize of the Amazon gift card to Candlelighters, saying, “You have been a true light in a few of our dark times over the past year.” Thanks, Jacey and family! Check out their picture from Camp Outside the Box wearing their shirts.

Guidelines for Designing the Shirt

  • Our theme is embracing community.
  • Design an image or symbol that represents this theme.
  • Design big, bold graphics that work in black-and-white or greyscale.
  • Do not include a lot of detail. Fine print is difficult to print on t-shirts. The simpler the design, the better.
  • All Candlelighters family members can submit a design for consideration.
Camp 2021 Memories

Youth Programs

The Luminaries is Candlelighters’ youth and young adult program whose focus is on increasing positive social interactions among youth while building leadership skills. The Luminaries’ mission is to provide spaces for kids and young adults who have experienced cancer and their youth siblings to connect, grow, and support one another through social connections and projects.

Learn more about one of our Luminaries leaders, Garrett, and how joining The Luminaries opened up a new world for him after his diagnosis at 16. And watch Sierra’s dance to “Warrior”—a beautiful interpretation of her cancer journey. You can also check out the Luminaries playlist on YouTube.

The Luminaries program is open to anyone that has been diagnosed with cancer—or their sibling—and is aged 13–21. Due to the current environment of COVID-19, the Luminaries are currently meeting online to chat and discuss future projects. Email Lisa for information on how to join!

Luminaries Spotlight

Welcome Intern Garrett Waggoner

My name is Garrett Waggoner, I am from St. Helens Oregon and when I was 16 years old I was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer. Candlelighters helped me and my family while we were going through this emotional time. As I am typing this I am 22 years...

Catching Up with Scholarship Recipient Cameron Caldwell

Cameron Caldwell is an Osteosarcoma Survivor in his junior year in Bio-Health science at Oregon Institute of Technology in Southern Oregon. He's one of 3 recepients of a Candlelighters Scholarship for 2021/2022. When he applied for the scholarship, he told us he hopes...

Candlelighters Scholarships: Update from Anna

In 1996, Candlelighters For Children With Cancer established the Candlelighters Continuing Education Scholarship Program for childhood cancer survivors to help families offset medical bills after years of treatment, follow up appointments, and on-going medical issues....

Scholarship Recipient Erin Morrison

Congratulations to our three 2021/2022 Candlelighters Scholarship recipients! As part of our whole-family support, Candlelighters offers three Scholarships a year. Scholarships are available to childhood cancer survivors in our community. Our goal is to help offset...

Luminaries Spotlight: Garrett Waggoner

Teen Spotlight: Garrett Waggoner The Luminaries Teen Group Leadership -told by his mom, Kristina Waggoner For Garrett, Candlelighters have been a very special gift on his journey. Let me see if I can explain how. Garrett has grown up with a childhood diagnosis of...

Parent & Caregiver Support Group

Connecting with other parents and caregivers who understand having a child diagnosed with cancer can be incredibly helpful. Join our online support group meetings, facilitated by Dr. Marianne Kabour.

This will be a chance to meet other parents and caregivers so that you can share your thoughts, stories, and concerns related to childhood cancer. If there’s a specific topic you would like to address, please send it to Lisa ahead of time.

Next Meeting

Wednesday, June 1, 2022
5:45 p.m.

Parent & Caregiver Support Group Sign-Up

These online support groups are hosted by Candlelighters, and moderated by Dr. Marianne Kabour. We meet on Zoom the first Wednesday of each month at 5:45 p.m. We will email you the Zoom link in advance.

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Candlelighters Community

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...

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...

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...

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...

Bereavement Support

We understand that the pain and grief of losing a child are unimaginable. You are not alone. Candlelighters offers two opportunities during the year for bereaved families to gather for a time of remembrance and to connect with others who are walking a similar path.

Additionally, bereaved families are always welcome to attend all Candlelighters family activities. Meeting and getting to know other families experiencing the same kind of grief offers strength and healing through community.

We also offer help with funeral costs. If you are newly bereaved, please ask your social worker for assistance requesting funds.

For additional information, please email Lisa or give her a call at 503-719-4244. You can also join our private Candlelighters Bereavement Community Group on Facebook.

Bereavement Events

Save the date for our next bereavement event: Picnic on the Farm on July 10, 2022.

Come together with other bereaved families twice during the year—once in the summer, and once again in the winter—to remember and honor the life of your child.

Please sign up for our Family Connections newsletter to be notified of our Bereavement events, or contact Lisa for more information.

Funeral Fund Assistance

We understand that when a child passes away, the focus should be on the family and not the bills associated with such a loss. Candlelighters offers a one time Emergency Funeral Financial Assistance, up to $500.00, to help ease the burden.

Please ask your social worker for assistance with requesting funds from Candlelighters.

Bereavement Support

We have compiled the following resources that we hope will be a help to you during your journey with grief and bereavement. 

Bereavement Resources

Support in Grief

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...

Your Family’s Story

Every childhood cancer story is unique, and we want to learn more about yours!

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    Candlelighters Stories

    Foundation of Hope : The Sumpter Family

    It's been 45 years since Candlelighters was founded by 5 families facing childhood cancer in 1977. Throughout the years, many more families have added their own stories, experiences, and insights to make our community what it is today. Each and every program - like...

    Meet Tatiana

    Meet Tatiana! Tatiana, now three, was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor, a type of kidney cancer, in August of 2021, and is currently in treatment. Tatiana's favorite toys are Minnie Mouse, Frozen, musical toys, and unicorns, and she likes looking at books. She enjoys...

    Surviving Wilms Tumor as a Child: Mollie

    March is kidney cancer awareness month, and we're talking with our community about our shared experiences.  Mollie Worcester, our Board President, was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor as a very young child. Learn more about how it affected her and her family, and what...

    “Sharing the love for my mom” – Nicole & Emme

    Emme (right) is part of our Luminaries youth leaders, a volunteer and advocate for Candlelighters and brain cancer awareness. She was diagnosed with Medullablastoma in 2009. Here, she shares about the special bond she has with her mom, Nicole. Q: What caregiver has...

    Meet Jessica. She’s helping survivors live their best lives.

    Throughout the month of February, we're making an extra effort to ensure parents, caregivers and healthcare workers know just how much their care means to the childhood cancer community. The Survivorship Program at Doernbecher Children's Hospital cares for kids and...

    Three Years Later: An Update on Jared

    The Thull family has been through quite a few challenges the past couple of years since we profiled them in Family That Shines. Along with COVID and Jared's cancer treatments, wildfires and home evacuation were also part of their world. When Jared's mom, Nicole posted...

    Meet Indie

      Meet Indie! Indie is 4, and her brother, River, is 6. Indie lives with mom, dad, and her brother. Her mom, Ashley, says Indie is very girly, she loves to dress up in princess dresses and put on play makeup. Indie and River play legos together, something they...

    Meet Bryson

    "Bryson's dimples are what we call "lady killer dimples" and he has all the nurses wrapped around his fingers because of them," says his mom. It's easy to see why! 5 year old Bryson was diagnosed with brain cancer last February. Here, his mom, Janna shares more about...

    Layla the Warrior Princess

    5 year old Layla was diagnosed with T-Cell ALL right before Thanksgiving 2020. Her mom, Sable, says "Layla has been resilient beyond expectations, and been the strongest little warrior princess. Her attitude has remained fairly positive despite some pretty low points....

    Anna Grace & the Pelson Family in the News!

    http:/ When (now) 16-year-old Anna Grace was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2020, in some ways everything changed. Her family faced being apart from each other often. One parent would drive to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital for weekly chemotherapy, staying sometimes...

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