As part of the Cancer Families United mission, we feel providing support for the families that have a child diagnosed with cancer is essential to coping with this life altering experience; one way we provide this support is through the Family Networking Events. These events are planned throughout the year and allow families who have a child diagnosed with cancer to interact with other families going through a similar experience. Because of HIPPA privacy laws, there is no way for the hospital to introduce families at the clinic, it would be up to the family to reach out for support. Attending a networking event breaks the HIPPA barrier by initiating communication with other families, they once didn’t know. The networking events are for families who currently have a child in treatment, who have had a child that completed treatment, or a family whose child has passed on from their cancer. Together, the families create their own bond and friendships and returning to clinic can be less alienating, for now they will have a familiar face to greet.
Previous networking events have included:
1. Kalamazoo Growlers Baseball game – group seating and special accommodations for clinic kids to throw out the first pitch
2. Gull Lake Ministries – private use of indoor activity center which include: rock wall climbing, bowling, basketball, air hockey and ping pong
3. Gull Meadow Farms – a private picnic with free wristbands for the activities
4. Binder Park Zoo – free passes to the zoo and a private picnic under a pavillion
5. Holiday Party – a private party at the Radisson that includes: make and take ornaments, kids crafts, cookie decorating, photo props and photo area, food and beverages, and a private session with Santa and a free gift
Every networking event is free to clinic families, food and beverages are provided and medical and safety precautions are followed.
Donations that CFU collects go to the general fund and the Board of Directors sets the budget with allocated funds to each program based on recommendations from the Program lead and the President; so that all events can remain free.