Author Archives: candleadmin

  1. Childhood cancer survivors, fighters gather on Mount Lemmon

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    The Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern Arizona is holding its 33rd Annual Family Camp June 1-3.

    The camp is an opportunity for children who have beat or are battling cancer to spend time with family and friends outside of the hospital or doctors office.

    Activities will include archery, a ropes course, and rock climbing.

    “It’s really fun getting out of all of the medical, and the hospital stuff,” said Ruby Calderon, whose 6-year-old brother is battling Leukemia. “My mom has been really stressed because of my little brother, so it’s really fun just getting away from everything and having fun up here. Getting to see my little brother smiling and everything? I’m so excited to see him happy.”

    Many local corporations and organizations send groups of volunteers up for the weekend. They express having become inspired by these strong children, teens and family members.

    Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern AZ, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a family-run support network. Currently serving over 400 families, they support, serve and advocate for children with cancer, their families, longtime survivors, bereaved families, and the professionals who care for them. Candlelighters programs are always free to the families.

  2. Annual vigil remembers and honors children with cancer

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    Dozens of people gathered on the front lawn of Banner University Medical Center Tuesday night for an annual vigil organized the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern Arizona.

    Among them was Owen and his mother, Reness Nasca-Vaughan.

    “He gets into everything. He just climbs and crawls.¬† He’s just big and explorative,” she said.

    With big, curious eyes and fast feet, Owen looks like your typical one and a half-year-old. But what you can’t see, is that he’s already been on quite the journey.

    “We’re just lucky. We’re very lucky,” Nasca-Vaughan said.

    Owen was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer of the immune system at just six weeks old.

    When he was eight weeks old, Owen started a year of chemotherapy and high dose steroid treatments.

    For Nasca-Vaughn, a first time mom, it was an unexpected journey.

    “Any ideas that I had about what motherhood would be like have been completely altered and that’s probably for the best,” she said. “I think that it’s better than I have ever imagined, it’s scarier than I ever imagined. It’s more fulfilling than I ever imagined.”

    Owen finished treatment in May and is now waiting for a six month check up.

    The annual event brings together families and creates a sense of community for those fighting the same battle. Whether it’s a child going through treatment, or losing one, in the case of Scott and Becky Belanger.

    “We are a part of a very small club that no one wants to be a part of,” Becky Belanger said. “But when you meet people who are also in this club you have this instant connection. We understand each other’s stories and journeys. And to have somebody who gets it is everything.”

  3. Candle ceremony for Childhood Cancer Awareness month

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    More than 100 honored victims, survivors and family of childhood cancers and blood disorders at Banner University Medical Center, Sept. 12, 2017, Tucson, Ariz.¬†¬†Aminata Sesay, center, holds her daughters Abigail Mansaray, left, and Ann Marie Mansaray while listening to the speakers at the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern Arizona’s candle lighting ceremony to raise awareness of childhood cancer, blood disorders and sickle cell disease at Banner University Medical Center, Tuesday, September 12, 2017, Tucson, Ariz. Nationwide, more than 13,000 children, and more than 300 in Arizona, are diagnosed with cancer per year. About 100 people attended the ceremony to remember and honor the victims, the survivors and those currently battling the diseases.