“I started volunteering with the Mid-Willamette Valley chapter in 2019 after my niece was diagnosed with ALL at the age of two. I helped as much as I was able but I felt very powerless to make any difference in all that was going on in their lives. Journey was diagnosed in July just after her second birthday and the constant back and forth from bend to Portland took its toll on my sister’s finances and I knew she was worried about Christmas.
One night my sister called to help unload her car, I was shocked to see a car full of gifts for their entire family. When I asked where these came from she said they were from an organization called, Candlelighters for Children with Cancer who had adopted their family and provided all of the gifts so they could enjoy the holiday as a family. The next morning my niece and her family opened tons of beautifully wrapped and unique to them gifts including the American Girl doll that my niece had been saying she wanted. The thoughtfulness never left my memory and I began volunteering from then on.
I had just been to visit my niece who my sister said the doctors were considering a feeding tube for as she had no appetite and was dangerously thin. Journey told me all about this amazing food place where she could eat whatever she wanted. She took great pleasure in showing me the food and snacks and which one was her favorite (macaroni & cheese). That small gesture provided such a happy and memorable moment and I again found myself so grateful for this organization.
Candlelighters has been the main catalyst for so many happy moments in a very dark two year journey with treatment and helping to bring some of that happiness, fun and community to other families experiencing this has truly touched my heart and my life.