Beyond the Box
Many people are still unsure about exactly what our foundation does. I am writing this blog in attempts to answer that question. We strive to be there for our families from the first day of diagnosis to the end of their treatment. Most people only know about our boxes, but that is only the very beginning.
Our foundation is currently partnered with Duke Hospital, UVA Hospital, Roanoke Carilion Hospital, and Brenner Children’s Hospital and we are in the process of adding another. When we partner with a hospital, we make sure they have Claire’s Care Boxes on hand. When a new family is diagnosed the in-patient child life specialist will take a box and deliver it to the family the day they receive a pediatric cancer diagnosis. The day Claire was diagnosed, Jordan and I had no idea we would not be returning home. We were completely unprepared, and I am sure many other families face the same. Our Care box aims to meet a family’s most primary needs, my husband calls it a one week survival kit. The box is filled with hygienic products, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, a journal, a devotional (if the hospital allows), and a $200 visa gift card. The first days are overwhelming; learning your child’s illness, reviewing treatment options, meeting doctors, adjusting to a new normal. Our goal is to take away the stress of meeting primary needs, so that the focus can be on the child. Phil 4:19 “my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Within the box there is also a contact form that parents have an option of filling out and sending back to us. If they chose to do this it begins the next phase of support. We financially support all of our families monthly until their last treatment. It is not dependent up on economic status nor do we ask for proof of medical bills. We send the families the support, and pray that it will meet a need and alleviate a burden. It helps cover the cost of eating away from home, gas, car maintenance, taking time off of work, medical bills, etc. Battling cancer can bring about many unexpected costs, and we pray that this reduces some of the financial strain. Galations 6:2 “Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ”
When we meet our families we not only send them financial support, but we also take the time to develop a relationship with them. We connect with our families, share stories, pray for one another, discuss fears and triumphs…we try to walk with them, encourage them, live life with them. Such a small portion of children experience pediatric cancer, we do not want them to feel alone or isolated, but loved cherished, and cared for. John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Our foundation also tries to send gifts of encouragement to uplift the spirits of our children. Long stays in the hospital, intense treatment, and unwanted side effects can take a toll on even the smallest, most innocent children. Many of our older children have received an IPad to help pass the time during long treatments, our younger children have received toys, costumes, coloring books, etc. Sometimes my husband is able to get autographed memorabilia for sports fans. Each gift of encouragement is unique to the child that receives it, and it is sent with prayers of strength and comfort. Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”
The Claire Parker Foundation also sends gifts in memory of children who were not able to celebrate healing on Earth. We have lost several children already. My husband and I have been given the pleasure to pray with and guide families in the moments leading up to and shortly after the loss of a child. It is a hard thing to experience and communicating with someone who has been there can sometimes be helpful. Jordan and I have lost a child, and we still have no recipe to cure a broken heart. We just continue to extend a line of prayer and friendship letting the families know that they are not alone. Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep”
Our foundation also has a new program that we will be rolling out soon. We have been given the great pleasure to partner up with a dear friend of mine who also lost her young son to a complication with Leukemia a little over six months ago. This program will create and send onesies to babies battling cancer to help accommodate their central lines. It will allow the children to be more mobile and continue being playful without the hindrance medical tubing. More details on this will come later!!
I hope that this post has helped to clear up exactly what we do as a foundation, how we connect with our families, and how we strive to improve their quality of life. Jordan likes to say that these children need more than research. Yes research is important to find new treatments, create new protocols, and search for a cure. However, these things take time, and we want to improve the quality of life of our kids and families today. To do this we need your help. I know God has called us to this mission, turning our journey of grief into a mission of love and compassion. However, at times I feel like we have opened pandora’s box. Some days there seem to be more children, more families, and more needs than we can accommodate. As of today we have sent out over 60 boxes, we currently support 9 families monthly, and our numbers continue to increase.
Without the support of others, none of this would be possible. If you would like to get involved with our mission below are a few ways how:
1) Sign up for a one time or monthly donation at www.claireparkerfoundation.org
-the original designs (gender neutral) are available at emilykathryns store at altavista, va and online.
The new designs (for women) are also available at Emily’s store as well as through me.
3) If you are unable to contribute financially at this time, help us spread the word, gain awareness, and
above all ask the Lord to guide and grow this non-profit organization in accordance to his will. He has
authority over all, and we seek his blessing upon this endeavor we have started in Claire’s memory.
If you every have any questions please feel free to message us on facebook, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and God bless!