Rutgers Childhood Leukemia Foundation assists cancer victims
From monthly arts and crafts visits to the occasional bake sale, Rutgers students are helping children and families affected by leukemia.
The Rutgers chapter of the national Childhood Leukemia Foundation serves to help those affected by blood cancer by providing funds, as well as information to families of sick children.
The chapter raises money for the national organization, which puts money toward a number of different benefits, said Calina Noah, vice president of the club and a School of Arts and Sciences junior.
The Childhood Leukemia Foundation has different projects, including making wigs for children who are going through chemotherapy and have lost their hair due to the treatment, Noah said.
It also has Hope Binders, which provide families with information about the treatment and support they can receive throughout. The foundation also gives out gift baskets for holidays such as Christmas, as well as birthdays and other special occasions.
The club has monthly hospital visits to St. Peter’s Hospital, where they work on arts and crafts with the children, Noah said, as well as staging bake sales and henna events.
Noah joined because she loves to spend time with kids and loves to bake.
By visiting the children in the hospital, she said the members of the Leukemia Foundation try to keep the kids’ minds off of treatments and engage in more fun activities.
In the past, the club has made tie-dye shirts, Halloween-themed lanterns and Easter baskets, said Amy Noor, a club member and School of Arts and Sciences junior.
"First-hand interaction with the kids is very eye-opening for our members. Knowing that we were able to brighten their day in such hard times truly puts things into perspective for us and fulfills our mission," Noor said.
The club's main fundraising event is their gift dropping night, Noah said. To enter the event, one must bring a gift. The event includes wrapping the gift, while enjoying food and music.
“It is truly amazing what they are doing, because both the children and their families need help in such difficult times,” said Aneri Patel, an Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy first-year student.
The club's last gift-drop garnered a greater number of students attended than expected, Noah said.
"We did not expect so many people to show up because we are such a small club (and) we ran out of food within half an hour. It was crazy. The entire student center was packed with people, and we were able to donate many gifts,” Noah said.
It showed how dedicated the executive board and general body members are, as well as how supportive of the Childhood Leukemia Foundation other organizations are, Noor said.
“I find childhood leukemia to be a very personal and meaningful cause," she said. "I have been able to experience very closely the kind of impact a child’s life has after being diagnosed. Trying to make sense of a severe illness while trying to make sense of the world can be very tough on a child’s mind."
Noor joined to alleviate some of these difficulties.
The organization runs programs that keep kids connected to the outside world, boost their self- esteem and keep them distracted for a time period while they are receiving treatment, Noor said. The club also provides families with information on how to deal with the healthcare system.
“So many people receive the unfortunate news of their diagnosis daily," she said. "It is even harder for children because they do not quite understand what their diagnosis entails."
Sofiya Nedelcheva is a School of Engineering first-year student. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @n_sofiyaaa for more.