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- ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation
We're here to make life a little Give Today Your generosity means kids like Zion don't have to face cancer or serious blood disorders alone. Zion, 3 Sickle Cell Disease 6-7 children are diagnosed with cancer every week in Virginia. Let’s give them a hand and help make life better any way we can. Get Involved News & Updates See how your generosity helped Zion and his family find hope, comfort and community when they needed it most. Read More > We're running low on snacks and treasure chest toys for our kids at clinic – can you lend a helping hand? Donate Now > You're going to 'fall' for ASK's autumn programs! See what events and socials are coming up in your community. Sign Up > How we help our families: Community & Connection Fighting cancer can be an isolating experience. We helped our kids and families build meaningful connections throughout 2022 with more than 100 program events. Educational Support On average, kids miss 43 days of school during their first year of treatment. In 2022, we helped them stay on grade level with more than 1,200 hours of online tutoring. Financial Assistance Half of all families with a child in treatment will experience severe financial hardship. In 2022, we helped 140 families stay afloat with nearly $200,000 to cover everyday expenses. Learn More Through your generosity, we've been able to provide Assistance, Support, and Kindness to over 1,000 people in our community impacted by childhood cancer. People like ASK parents Andrew and Rebecca Frantz, and their son, Owen. Meet the Frantz family as they share their story, and how your support provided the care and community they needed to make it through the impossible. They’re one amazing family! See More Impact Connect with ASK Like Follow Subscribe Browse Sign up for Email or Text Updates
- Webinar Series | ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation
WEBINAR SERIES ASK's webinar series provides information and support to families to help them navigate the childhood cancer & blood disorder journey. Hear from guest experts as well as parents, teens, and young adults who shared their lived experience. Topic: Educational Plans (504/IEP) Date: October 19, 2023 Join us to discuss the types of supports and accommodations your child can receive to help them to be more successful in school. We will talk about the child stud y process, as well as the differences between a 504 plan and an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Register Upcoming Webinars 2023: October 19: Educational Plans (504/IEP) November 9: Coping with Emotions & Anxiety 2024: January 11: Positivity February 15: Siblings March 14: Educational & Vocational Planning April 11: Supporting Younger Learners May 9: Transitions Previous Webinars Ask Us About: Returning to Normalcy
- Link in Bio | ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation
Link-in-Bio Welcome! Visit some of our most popular pages below. To see more of our website, tap the menu icon in the top right corner. Fall Clinic Snack Drive Donate Now Ways to Give For Families Get Involved Upcoming Events ASK Blog Photo Albums Contact Us About ASK Sign up for updates >
- Meet ASK Kid Zion
For the most part, three-year-old Zion is your typical toddler: he loves dinosaurs, superheroes and wrestling with his older brothers. “He’s a flirt and a charmer,” Zion’s dad, Andre, says with a chuckle. “And as long as he stays hydrated, we let him try new things and play hard!" Zion was just one week old when he was diagnosed with sickle cell disease (SCD): an inherited blood disorder that causes red blood cells to become crescent - or “sickle” - shaped, stick together and block blood flow to the rest of the body. Both of Zion’s parents carry the genetic trait for SCD, as does his twin, Nuri, so the diagnosis wasn’t a huge surprise; Rather, it marked the first of many challenges ahead in managing his lifelong illness. Within days of his diagnosis, Zion and his family were introduced to ASK. “ASK is phenomenal,” remarks Taniqua, Zion’s mom. “Everyone is so helpful and kind, and the financial help that ASK has given us has been incredible. The kids appreciate the gifts and toys and the people at ASK are always on hand to lift our spirits.” Zion’s family was able to participate in ASK’s 2021 holiday Tacky Light Tour, a trip to the Richmond Zoo, the ASK 2022 holiday party and several more ASK events. Being diagnosed during the COVID-19 pandemic meant extra isolation from the outside world, so these opportunities for connection were that much more impactful for Zion and his family as they navigated his illness. “The older kids were very upset because they understood what Zion may go through, but we have rallied as a family and they are very protective of their little brother,” Taniqua continues. “Now, we’re hoping that Zion will be able to have a bone marrow or haploid transplant to improve his situation, with the new marrow coming from either me or his dad if not an unrelated donor.” Sickle cell disease patients can experience episodes of intense pain. Zion experienced his first pain crisis when he was eight months old, causing a terrifying stroke. While monthly blood transfusions and iron chelation therapy currently keep Zion’s pain crises at bay, a bone marrow or stem cell transplant is vital to helping him live a long and full life. Even so, Zion doesn’t let sickle cell disease stop him from being his awesome self! “Treatments have improved, technology has improved, and Zion can be an example that children can live a normal life with sickle cell,” shares Andre. Taniqua and Andre want people to know that children living with SCD in Virginia need blood transfusions, and encourage everyone who is able to step up and give what they can to save kids like their son. “It was heartbreaking to know that during the blood shortage, some kids couldn’t get the blood transfusions they needed. Please give blood if you are able. You never know whose life you may save. We are so grateful that Zion could receive the blood he needed... Someone out there helped save our baby."
- Meet ASK Kid Tallulah
On Mother’s Day of 2022, Melissa and her then two-year-old daughter, Tallulah, tested positive for Covid-19. Nothing was the same after that diagnosis. Unfortunately, Tallulah never fully recovered and her mom continued to question why, weeks later, she wasn’t feeling better. Once a simple blood test revealed critically low platelet, red and white blood cell counts, Tallulah was rushed to the pediatric emergency room, where she and Melissa were dealt an unexpected blow: a diagnosis of B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. “We live in Powhatan, so by the time we arrived at VCU, Tallulah was unresponsive. I thought she died in her car seat, and I would never see my baby alive again,” Melissa remembers. “ I just wanted to rewind the clock and go back to the day before Mother’s Day, the day before our whole world changed.” An ER doctor confirmed that Tallulah was “nearly incompatible with life.” The hospitalization that followed marked the start of their difficult journey ahead. "Immediately, we were greeted warmly by Katie Barber, ASK’s Child Life Specialist. Within minutes we felt like we were home, where people were going to love us, nurture us and help us through the most difficult situation we’d ever encountered.” - ASK mom Melissa “I didn’t want to be in the ASK Childhood Cancer Clinic,” Melissa continues. “I didn’t want to be near the Children’s Hospital of Richmond, and, most of all, I didn’t want my baby to have cancer. But there we were, confused and terrified. Immediately, we were greeted warmly by Katie Barber, ASK’s Child Life Specialist. Within minutes we felt like we were home, where people were going to love us, nurture us and help us through the most difficult situation we’d ever encountered.” A two-and-a-half-year regimen of treatments, chemotherapy, steroids, transfusions, infusions, and surgeries lay ahead. Tallulah has endured multiple hospital stays and surgeries – but through it all, she stayed resilient. A true fighter. Thankfully, she is now entering her last year of chemo treatments and is celebrating by counting down the days on a chalkboard. Each day is represented with a one-of-a-kind drawing that Tallulah’s mom plans to turn into a book for family and friends. “God is so good,” Melissa says with appreciation. “We have gratitude not for cancer, but for this experience that has taught us to treasure every single day and love deeper.” Alongside their faith, Melissa, Tallulah and family continue to find hope through ASK’s emotional and educational support services, as well as a community that fully embraces and understands them. This care goes beyond the clinical and the medical – it’s personal. “We are so grateful to ASK for being our constant cheerleaders and advocates, and for providing so many opportunities for us to interact with other families. We learn and grow from one another, and those connections with people who truly understand what we’re experiencing have been vital to bringing a sense of normalcy to an abnormal situation. The sense of community that ASK fosters is unique,” Melissa explains. “Jon Longenecker, ASK Education Support Coordinator, helped us find a new preschool that was more accepting of Tallulah’s situation, and someone is always on hand to give us gift cards for gas and food, or just a much-needed hug. They are personally committed to all of the ASK families.” “Tallulah is not only the happiest child that I know, but the most joyful person that I know,” Melissa exclaims, radiating with pride and love. A four-year-old dynamo, Tallulah infuses life with music, dance, and Sesame Street-inspired cakes. “Her cup runneth over,” she continues. “I think, on some level, she knows she’s living through a special time in her life and she’s determined to make the best of it. We’re going to celebrate every day of this journey.”
- Meet ASK Kid Monica
When Monica was told she had leukemia, she considered ending her own life. A single mom of two young children who speaks limited English, she knew her life during treatment would be hard and she would be alone. It was too much to bear, but then she remembered her babies. “I was so tired, and so sick during chemotherapy. My life was hard and some people that I thought loved me, left me. But I had to stay strong for my children,” recounts Monica. Monica, now 19, was 5 months pregnant with her second child when she noticed that she was so tired, could barely walk and couldn’t sleep. She went to a few hospital emergency rooms before a doctor did a simple blood test, which showed that her hemoglobin and platelet counts were too low, indicating leukemia. To save her life, her son was immediately induced and she began chemotherapy treatments shortly after. Now in remission, Monica looks forward to returning to all the things she enjoyed doing before her diagnosis, like being outside, playing basketball and being a mom to her children. She credits the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation with supporting her through diagnosis and treatment, and now getting back on her feet. “ASK has helped me so much,” exclaims Monica. “Gift cards to help with food and diapers and clothes for my kids, as well as helping me with all the health insurance stuff. I couldn’t have gotten through this terrible experience without them!” “ASK is like my family now... I experienced so much joy with my children at the Bingo Night and the picnic for Latino families. I learned I can feel happy in the middle of cancer.” - ASK Kid Monica “ASK is like my family now,” continues Monica. “They helped us financially and emotionally and have provided enjoyment and words of encouragement during this difficult time, just like a real family. I experienced so much joy with my children at the Bingo Night and the picnic for Latino families. I learned I can feel happy in the middle of cancer.” Monica is quick to add that because of financial donors, ASK now provides bilingual support for Spanish-speaking families. “For many Hispanic patients, there is a serious language barrier when trying to understand medical guidance. I want financial donors to know that because they are providing resources for people like me, God will bless them. I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough!” Like many pediatric cancer patients, Monica has a positive spirit. “I know now that everything is going to be well and if I stay positive, things will turn around. Every day, I’m so grateful for my life and for the support that ASK has given me to help me get here!”