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Supporting Families Fighting Childhood Cancer: Lending a Hand from the Moment of Diagnosis

At ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation, our mission is clear: to make life better for children with cancer and their families, starting from the moment of diagnosis and extending through treatment and beyond. One way this support is made possible is by our incredible clinic staff at the Children's Hospital of Richmond, who are the first wave of family support that our ASK families receive at the critical moment of diagnosis and throughout their treatment journey.

Our dedicated clinic staff includes key members like Katie Barber, ASK Child Life Specialist; Rich Catlett, ASK Chaplain; and Kim Stroud, ASK Family Support Manager, whose roles are directly funded by ASK. Learn more about them below!

Katie Barber: ASK Child Life Specialist

"Every day is different, and I never know what may happen or who may need me," says Katie Barber, fondly known as "Miss Katie" to our kids. Katie's approach to easing children's anxiety during treatment is both creative and compassionate. She helps children understand and cope with their procedures through medical play and engaging activities.

Katie has been making it happen for pediatric oncology patients and their families for more than 15 years at the ASK Clinic at The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. With a background in recreation and child life therapies, Katie is the first—and only—child life therapist funded by the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation. Often, Katie is the first ASK representative to meet a newly diagnosed child at the ASK Clinic.

Katie Barber, ASK Child Life Specialist

Katie's dedication goes beyond the clinic walls. "I meet every new family, whether inpatient or in clinic, to explain what ASK is and how we can help navigate the confusing and intricate details of diagnosis, treatment, inpatient hospitalization, and clinic," she explains. Katie's presence is a constant source of reassurance and guidance for families facing childhood cancer. Once in clinic for treatment, evaluation or follow-up, Katie continues to act as a liaison for whatever a family may need.

"Katie has become more of a family member in our 2 years of participation with ASK. I can always come to her with questions, and she knows more about my son's favorite video game than I do." - ASK Mom

"Every child is different, and every family's needs are different. I try to talk to everyone while they are in clinic so we can have a sense of what is most important that day. Whether it's financial assistance, meal vouchers for parents of kids who are hospitalized, gas cards to help get the family to the hospital each day, a child's favorite toy in clinic to help ease the pain of treatment, or organizing an SAT prep course for one of our teenagers, I'm on it!" - Katie

Rich Catlett: ASK Chaplain

Families often seek spiritual support during the difficult journey through a medical crisis. It is natural to struggle and have questions when the unexpected happens. That’s why the Chaplain position at the ASK Clinic at The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU was the very first position that ASK fully funded to be able to meet the needs of our families.

ASK Chaplain Rich Catlett is available wherever your child is along their treatment journey. Rich provides our families with spiritual support that can vary widely and include prayer, addressing concerns about death and the afterlife, dealing with a loss of faith, or discussing ways to use spirituality for strength. Whatever your beliefs, Rich listens to your concerns and helps you process what is happening.

Rich Catlett, ASK Chaplain

Rich has served every family that is treated in the ASK Clinic at the Children's Hospital of Richmond. His typical day is anything but typical, and he purposely doesn't schedule his day so he can adapt to whatever situation may present itself.

"Rich is the absolute BEST! He helped me through Evie's cancer as well as other obstacles in life and I'm forever grateful for his heart!" - ASK Mom

"Some days, I care for all staff, and some days, my care is directed to our patients and parents. This is doable because my faith sustains me and because we work as a team in the ASK Clinic. We all work on spiritual, medical, and emotional care. We all support one another, and that helps us deal and cope with our environment." - Rich

Kim Stroud: ASK Family Support Manager

Kim Stroud's role as ASK Family Support Manager is centered on alleviating practical burdens for families. "I try to talk to everyone while they are in clinic so we can have a sense of what is most important that day," Kim explains. From providing financial assistance to organizing pick-me-up surprises, Kim's support extends beyond the clinic to create a supportive environment for ASK families.

ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation offers financial assistance and additional support to families being treated at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, UVA Children's Hospital, Carilion Children's, Inova Schar Cancer Institute, and Fredericksburg area families treated at Children's National. Qualified families in Virginia may apply for help paying non-medical (housing, utilities, transportation) bills by filling out our ASK Making Life Better Fund Application.

"Thank you so much for the assistance with our mortgage last month! We are truly grateful for the ability to put that money towards medical related costs. We are thankful for everything you do to support our family." - ASK Mom

The challenges that come with a childhood cancer diagnosis can look a little different for everyone. "Our team works tirelessly to provide comprehensive support at every step of the journey," Kim emphasizes. By collaborating with hospital social workers and community partners, Kim ensures that families receive tailored assistance based on their unique needs, such as:

Holistic Support Beyond Treatment

ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation's commitment to family support extends beyond medical treatment. Through the dedication of our ASK Clinic Staff, including Katie Barber, Rich Catlett, and Kim Stroud, we stand with ASK families, offering hope, compassion, and unwavering support.

ASK's mission is to make life better for children with cancer. Katie, Rich and Kim are beautiful examples of how to live that mission every day and in every way.

If your family is navigating childhood cancer in Virginia, please fill out the ASK Family Enrollment form here so that we can provide the necessary support, community and resources needed throughout your journey.


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