‘Sunshine Kids’ sends local girl to NY

0
66

Deborah Powell

Founded in 1982 in Texas, Sunshine Kids is a non-profit organization that is committed to providing positive group activities and emotional support for young cancer patients and cancer survivors. ‘Summer Broadway Break’ is one of its annual group activities and Melissa Gravelle of Bristol was one of this year’s participants.

Deborah Powell

Founded in 1982 in Texas, Sunshine Kids is a non-profit organization that is committed to providing positive group activities and emotional support for young cancer patients and cancer survivors. ‘Summer Broadway Break’ is one of its annual group activities and Melissa Gravelle of Bristol was one of this year’s participants.
“The best part was seeing Selena Gomez,” said Melissa referring to time on the set of Good Morning America with Gomez in concert in Central Park. Also included on the agenda were: performances of The Lion King and the Blue Man Group; a private yacht tour on the Hudson River; and bowling at Chelsea Piers. “We were treated like VIPs and loved all the excitement and energy that New York City had to offer,” said Sydney Harris-Janz, Registered Dietician at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, who chaperoned the participants.
“I really liked the shopping,” continued Gravelle, who bought two dresses, among other things. While describing New Yorkers as always being in a rush, she thought she might like to live there, “if I had lots of money,” she laughed.
Although Sunshine Kids USA organized the trip, the Canadian Sunshine Kids Foundation covered the costs for the Canadian group. Ruth Harding Bohan, CSKF Chair, explained that the majority of the funds are raised through Canadian real estate agents. “To date, we’ve been fortunate to have raised significantly more than the trips cost each year so we approach the participating hospitals
(Sick Kids, Toronto; McMaster, Hamilton; CHEO, Ottawa; BC Children’s; and IWK, Halifax) to give us their ‘wish lists’,” said Harding Bohan of the money that must be spent on something directly to help the youth such as medical equipment, iPads, computer games, redecorating teen lounges, etc. “It’s fun to be able to give something to the kids who are not able to do the trip,” she said.
While survival rates for children with cancer have risen to over 80% in resource-rich countries like Canada, the disease is still the leading cause of non-accidental death for kids. In addition, studies show that more than 95% of childhood cancer survivors are prone to continued and often serious health problems throughout their lives.