by Melanie Goodpasture
Every Tuesday and Thursday, four-year-old Micah Scales can be found at First STEP (Socialization Through Enriched Play) Preschool, a unique preschool held in partnership with First Baptist Preschool. The program is dedicated to serving pediatric oncology patients and their siblings. Like other children in his class, Micah is learning the alphabet and singing nursery rhyme songs. And like other children in his class, Micah is a childhood cancer survivor.
“We are young parents and had no support system while in North Carolina,” continues Sherrelle. “Our families are in Richmond, so when my husband, Micah Sr., left the military, we moved here to be near them and the pediatric oncology program at CHoR. Then we met the folks of the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation and our lives changed forever.”
ASK support began as soon as Micah entered the ASK Hematology/Oncology clinic. Sherrelle and Micah Sr. immediately joined a parent support group and became involved in the many programs for kids and adults. They rarely miss an event, and even moved closer to the First S.T.E.P. Preschool at First Baptist Church so Micah would not have to miss a class.
First S.T.E.P. Preschool is a unique preschool program for pediatric hematology/oncology patients, and their siblings. Staffed with a teacher and medical professionals familiar with pediatric oncology, First STEP is one of only two similar programs in the country. First STEP is fully funded by generous donations to the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation.