When kids are diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder, not only are they dealing with serious health challenges, but they and their families also face numerous social, psychological, emotional and financial stressors related to their condition. These pressures can impact a child’s ability to heal and affect the whole family’s capacity to cope.
That’s why Children’s Colorado recruited Dr. Bob Casey, a pediatric psychologist with extensive experience treating children with cancer, to launch a research-based, multidisciplinary Wellness Program at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders more than 10 years ago. Today, it’s one of the most unique, comprehensive and clinically-integrated pediatric cancer support programs in the country.
And it is supported 100% by philanthropy. We can only do this because of you!
In order to ensure the success of this critical program’s future, retain its nationally renowned leader and recruit talented teammates, an anonymous donor has seeded the beginnings of an endowed chair for the Wellness Program. This thoughtful donor left the naming rights to be claimed by the largest single donor to this effort, which still needs a little over $1.5 million to reach the goal amount.
At many other kids’ hospitals, a wellness team only gets involved after a family is facing a hardship. At Children’s Colorado, a group of psychosocial experts is on board from the moment a child is diagnosed – more than 300 kids each year at Children’s Colorado. This support team is fully integrated into the family’s care plan right away, so trust and strong bonds can be built from the outset, and caregivers can be on the lookout to identify potential problems before they become crises.
The program has proven to be extremely successful in improving mental and physical health outcomes, but it requires significant philanthropic support, because dedicated social workers and other therapeutic services are provided to families free of charge. “Our model is not trying to catch up and put out fires; we are being proactive and preventive,” says Dr. Casey. “The challenge is that a program like this demands substantial resources, but there is no money coming in for these services - it’s solely about providing the best care to our families.”
In the decade that Dr. Casey has spearheaded the program, it has grown exponentially, expanding from three social workers to seven and from three Child Life specialists to five. In 2011, the Wellness Program added a Family Navigator, who is dedicated entirely to accessing financial resources to support families in need. The Family Navigator concept has proved to be so valuable that it has become a hospital-wide role across all departments.
Most of the services provided by the Wellness Program are provided free of charge, and many of the team member positions, including Dr. Bob Casey’s directorship, are supported almost entirely by philanthropy. The Wellness Program receives incredible support from the community – especially the Courage Classic Bicycle Tour’s Wheels of Justice cycling team – but donations can vary from year to year, making it difficult to plan ahead.
Securing an endowed chair for the Wellness Program would ensure that these critical support services are available in perpetuity, minimizing the impact of funding fluctuations. Your support is vital to the ongoing success of this world-renowned model for pediatric cancer psychosocial treatment. Please join us today by funding this crucial program and inquiring about how you can be a part of creating an endowed chair for this nationally recognized oncology support team.