Families of children living with the implications of the long-term, life-threatening effects of cancer don't have to go through the ordeal alone.
An organization known as Rocky Mountain Candlelighters provides support for family members to help them over the rough spots - as well as help celebrate the victories of recovery."It's better to light one candle than curse the darkness" is the philosophy of the organization, which is led by a parent committee.
Co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society and Primary Children's Medical Center, the group's programs balance educational information and fun - allowing families "normal" celebrating together.
Among services provided for members are:
- Parent-to-parent visitation: Parents of newly diagnosed patients are visited by other oncology parents who offer support and the understanding that only they have. The visiting parents also give information regarding the clinic and Candlelighter resources.
- Oncology resource library: Parents of children receiving care at Primary Children's often like to have written materials or books available to them. They may want information regarding such concerns as their child's disease, state-of-the-art treatment, the impact of a child's cancer on siblings, nutrition problems or long-term side effects of cancer treatment. The library committee works to make these resources available.
- Camp Hobe: This is an opportunity each summer for cancer patients and their siblings to enjoy the outdoors while, for the most part, leaving home their medical concerns and fears.
Candlelighters meetings are held monthly at Primary Children's in the Level 1 Auditorium from 7-9 p.m. The teen group (ages 13-18) and children's group (ages 6-12) meet during the regular Candlelighters meetings with their separate leadership. Child care for preschoolers is provided during meetings.
Special events or parties also are scheduled regularly to help families live more helpfully and hopefully with cancer.