Happy Holidays from Here to Serve

Happy Holidays From Here To Serve

As we enter December 2021, we usher in the holiday season around the globe. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah (November 28th-December 6th) or Kwanzaa (December 26th- January 1st), celebrations are starting to look a bit more like 2019 instead of the incomparable holidays of 2020. As more people are vaccinated, there is more normalcy, but we are not entirely through the pandemic, especially as scientists discover new variants.

We continue to adjust to the new normal of masks and social distancing, but we can move forward and celebrate the season. And as we decorate the Christmas tree, eat the potato latke during a Hanukkah celebration, or light the Kinara candles during Kwanzaa, we appreciate the time with family and friends a little more. We do not take this unity for granted. For children going through cancer treatment, the holiday season will also be very different from any other. It may be challenging to have a traditional celebration, but families can still have quality time and enjoy the festive season through creativity and adaptability.

New and Unique Family Traditions

Man and Child spending time togetherThe top priority for parents of children with pediatric cancer is beating cancer. Nothing else matters during this timeframe. All resources, including time, energy, and finances, will be directed towards the cancer fight. It might be challenging to focus on decorations and gifts. But special holidays are significant to children, and it is vital to celebrate these times if, even in a modest way, the emotional importance of creating a sense of hopefulness will be priceless. As the holidays approach, these challenges might intensify. It helps to create a sense of optimism and stability when hospital visits and cancer treatments have become the new normal. Take a moment of downtime and talk about the holidays and the traditions your family celebrates. Maybe your entire family travels to a Christmas tree farm and cuts down the perfect tree. That might not be a realistic activity when a young child is exhausted or in the hospital for an extended time. So hold off on that for now and make it a future memory your family saves for another year. But you and your child can still decorate a tree or a room with family ornaments that bring back special times when held in your hands. Being flexible with time is also crucial during this period of uncertainty. Your child’s health does not stick to a calendar. Celebrating the eight days and nights of Hanukkah may not be consecutive days. Adjust your celebrations to your child’s needs. Spending quality time with your family is the most significant part of the holiday season, but you can modify when your holiday season takes place.

Accepting the Give of Help

Trying to balance care for your sick child during the holidays is challenging. A typical day might consist of hospital visits, administering medications, running errands, caring for other children, and even working part-time or full-time jobs. Cooking a special holiday meal or decorating your home will be low on the priority list. The cost of preparing your home for a celebration may also be a financial burden when factoring in the expenses related to cancer treatment. If you are feeling overwhelmed during this time of year, do not hesitate to ask for help. In the season of giving, friends and family are more than likely to help as much as they can. Your family is not alone in this cancer fight. And know that there are organizations to support kids with cancer.

Here to Serve offers many ways to help your family during the holiday season and beyond. Our Family Care Coordinators will administer a needs assessment to learn more about your specific needs. Our care community will organize activities to assist with gifts, decorations, grocery shopping, household chores, transportation, and meal coordination. All types of events are part of daily life, but they can become burdens that take away time with your child during the cancer journey.

You can choose to celebrate the holidays when you reach out to Here to Serve to help. These are special times for building memories with friends and family. If your child is going through cancer, the holidays are not the same, but it does not mean they have to go away completely. Simple moments, like laying on the couch with your kid, watching a classic holiday movie, or hanging a string of lights in your living room, do not take much effort. Still, the benefits can be incredible because they can bring joy to your child and temporarily remove the worry and anxiety that come during uncertain times. Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about how we can help during the holidays and throughout the entire cancer journey All of us at Here to Serve wish you and your family a joyous holiday season filled with love, laughter, and hope for a better tomorrow.

 By Chris Smith

About The Author

Chris Smith is a Here to Serve volunteer from the San Francisco Bay area who himself is a cancer survivor. He uses his professional experience as a technical writer to give back and provide clear and meaningful information for families with a child battling cancer.

All information on this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. Always consult a medical provider in your particular area of need before making significant changes in your medical decisions or lifestyle.

Giving Tuesday Celebrates Generosity Across the Globe

Giving Tuesday Celebrates Generosity Across The Globe

Many Americans consider Thanksgiving as the “official” start of the holiday season in the United States. Black Friday is the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Even during the era of Covid-19, the malls of America are crowded with shoppers looking for the best deals. Cyber Monday makes holiday shopping more convenient shopping from the comfort of your home. In 2012, Giving Tuesday emerged as another important date kicking off the holiday season. This particular day began with the simple idea of celebrating generosity. A way to encourage acts of charity after millions of Americans spend billions of dollars in the days after Thanksgiving.

According to the Giving Tuesday organization, supporters donated over $500 million during the 24 hours of Giving Tuesday in 2020. In less than ten years, the movement has grown across the entire world. Now hosted in over 80 countries and receiving support from corporations such as the Ford Motor Company and PayPal, often matching donations by employees and consumers. But what makes Giving Tuesday a genuine community effort is that anybody can participate in the event. Generosity can come in many forms, not just donating to charities but also reaching out by volunteering time and energy to help those in need.

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Using Social Media in Positive Ways

The amount of donations made on Giving Tuesday is impressive. The advances made in technology over the past 25 years have helped make an event like this possible. Even during a pandemic when people were staying indoors, a staggering amount of donations were taking place. Social media is often criticized for tearing the country apart by creating division, but Giving Tuesday is a positive example of internet activism where communication provides a fast and effective method for organizations to get their message out to a vast number of people quickly. If you are reading this blog post on a smartphone or laptop, you have used technology as a positive method of being informed about our nonprofit organization, Here to Serve.

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Here to Serve Pediatric Cancer Patients on Giving Tuesday and Beyond

Nearly a third of charitable donations occur in December. The holiday season brings out the giving spirit for many. At Here to Serve, we are grateful for the contributions we receive from our generous donors during November and December and throughout the entire year. A pediatric cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event for families. Feelings of helplessness wash over parents as they witness the devastating effects of cancer on their children. The burdens of the disease are overwhelming. Here to Serve was founded to help families cope with the daily responsibilities of life that still occur during the cancer journey. The generous donations and the many volunteers within our organization are the foundation that helps to provide this support.

While the holiday season can bring out the best in people, it can also bring up feelings of hopelessness and despair. Children spend days in a hospital room while parents worry about how to pay their medical costs. As a result, celebrating the holidays often get pushed aside. At Here to Serve, we want to help change that for our families. Providing holiday gifts along with preparation and decorations is just small ways to bring a sense of normalcy to cancer kids when there is so much uncertainty.

Giving Tuesday is a way to shine a light on the organizations that are there to help. Here to Serve believes the cancer journey of families is as important to fund as is cancer research and hospitals. It needs the same amount of attention and not just the attention it get from fueling fundraising efforts for hospitals and cancer research. Those are important, but no less important then a family’s cancer journey! We appreciate you taking the time to visit our site. Whether you came looking for information about our services for someone you love, or you are a person looking for opportunities to help, we encourage you to explore our site and learn more about our services and ways to help children with cancer. If you feel strongly about our commitment to helping families going through the cancer journey, please tell your friends and family about Here to Serve and consider giving generously to families who are actually on the cancer journey. In addition to our website, you can find us on social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

By Chris Smith

About The Author

Chris Smith is a Here to Serve volunteer from the San Francisco Bay area who himself is a cancer survivor.  He uses his professional experience as a technical writer to give back and provide clear and meaningful information for families with a child battling cancer.

Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. Always consult a medical provider in your particular area of need before making significant changes in your medical decisions or lifestyle.