CCA’s Chemo Pal Mentor Program provides kids with a caring, trusted, adult friend to look forward to seeing during treatments, and someone in their corner when they need it most. Chemo Pal mentors play games, listen to music, share hobbies, or simply offer the comfort of companionship, relieving the anxiety, loneliness, and isolation experienced by children in treatment.
A Chemo Pal match lasts for the duration of a child’s treatment, usually about one year. When a child finishes with treatment, CCA celebrates with a “graduation”. Afterwards, it’s up to the family if they want to continue their relationship outside of CCA’s volunteer program.
Often, what starts as a simple friendship, becomes something much deeper and meaningful for both kids and their volunteer mentors. Below are some stories of friendships that have begun from a Chemo Pal match and continued well beyond their graduation.
Brian Griffiths and Joe
Joe and Brian were matched in May 2013 and bonded over their shared love of sports. Throughout Joe’s treatment, Brian would hang out with Joe at the hospital, and the two became close. Joe finished treatment in September 2013, but these two have continued their friendship. Together they have supported CCA by selling raffle tickets at our annual Wonderball. They love to be goofy and model for the camera!
Diana Lybarger and Zophia
Zophia and Diana were matched in July 2012. During Zophia’s nine-month treatment, they enjoyed many craft activities, anything to do with dogs, and talked for hours at a time. Zophia was very outgoing and always kept Diana on her toes.
Sadly, Zophia passed away, but Diana has stayed very close with Zophia’s grandmother, Anita. They have gone on vacations and celebrated birthdays together. Diana recently said, “Anita and I have developed a lifelong friendship. Zophia would love that her grandma and I have stayed friends. We love celebrating her joy and zest for life. She’s truly with us wherever we go.”
Wendy Thompson and Jordan
Jordan and Wendy were matched in August 2006 and graduated in January 2011. Recently, Wendy said, “Since our official Chemo Pal graduation – we’ve become “Remission Pals”. We see each other 3-4 times a year and talk on the phone. She’s an amazing artist, and I have many Jordan originals adorning my walls that capture our various outings.”
Adonna Hill and Ramsey
Ramsey and Adonna were matched in March 2009 and graduated in April 2012 after nearly three years together. Adonna became a part of the family and since Ramsey finished treatment, they often go to lunch and enjoy catching up.
Jay Dressler and Levi
Levi and Jay were matched in November 2008 and graduated in December 2011. They saw each other very regularly during Levi’s three years of treatment as Levi grew from a young boy into a teenager. After graduation, they have stayed in touch and often go out to eat together.
Volunteer as a Chemo Pal
These are just a few examples of how a simple friendship can be a powerful source of healing. CCA is always looking for dedicated and passionate volunteers who would like to be a part of the Chemo Pal Mentor program.