BECAUSE NO FAMILY SHOULD FIGHT CANCER ALONE
Candlelighters recognizes that a childhood cancer diagnosis affects the entire family. We are committed to providing support to the entire family through our daily services and special family events. Candlelighters, just like cancer, does not discriminate based on race, gender, or socioeconomic status, all our services and events are available to Candlelighters families at NO COST.
We invite any and all families whose child has received a cancer diagnosis and treated at the Texas Children’s Cancer Center (Main Campus or any satellite campus), MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, or Children’s Memorial Herman to join our Candlelighters family. Families must complete our Candlelighters registration form before we can provide our programs and services. Please complete the online registration form and a Parent Consultant will be in touch with you soon!
DAILY SERVICES FOR FAMILIES
The Parent Consultant Program was developed to directly meet the needs of families at the treatment centers and to inform them of potential resources and help through Candlelighters. Each Parent Consultant had or has a child with cancer and knows what it is like to be the parent of a child with cancer. The Parent Consultant provides emotional, educational and practical support to families being treated at the Texas Medical Center. This unique program consists of five Parent Consultants serving childhood cancer families at The University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital and Texas Children’s Cancer Center.
SUPPORT GROUP MEETINGS
Support Group Meetings held each week for parents of children on treatment, off treatment or bereaved. Weekly meetings are led by the Parent Consultants and provide parents a forum to discuss a broad range of concerns and issues facing childhood cancer families.
MD Anderson Candlelighters Support Group Meeting
Wednesdays 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Ronald McDonald Family Room near ICU
Texas Children’s Hospital Candlelighters Support Group Meeting
Wednesdays 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Ronald McDonald Family Room at West Tower
HOSPITAL PARKING ASSISTANCE
Parking Assistance is available to any Candlelighters family whether staying in the hospital or coming in for a clinical visit. When you are facing a childhood cancer diagnosis, the average treatment time is three years; inevitably, your child will experience hospital stays, will need to visit the clinic multiple times a week, and will find themselves in the emergency room. Physicians, social workers and parents tell us that parking remains a number one economic concern for our parents. To a parent who stays with an ill child for weeks, even months, paying for parking can become a tremendous financial burden totaling thousands of dollars each year.
HOSPITAL MEAL PASSES
Meal Passes to hospital cafeterias are available to Candlelighters families. Patients’ meals are taken care of while the child in is in the hospital, however, the meals of the parents staying with the children or the young siblings at the hospital are not taken care of. Help with meal passes for the hospital cafeteria is vital to the parents who stay with their child 24 hours a day as it allows the family to have access to on-site food and quick meal without having to leave the hospital.
GAS GIFT CARDS
Gas Gift Cards for use at major gas stations are available for Candlelighters families who need to travel into the Texas Medical Center for treatment. Paired with parking fees, the costs of actually traveling to the hospital is a struggle for many of our families. In many instances, one parent accompanies the child, while the other parent arrives at the hospital after work – doubling the gas and parking costs.
GROCERY GIFT CARDS
Grocery Store Gift Cards allow many parents to have food at the hospital so they can prepare meals for their family whenever they want to eat. There are cooking facilities available at both hospitals and gift cards have helped many families buy the much needed groceries their family needs while staying long-term in the hospital.
Funeral Assistance is available for Candlelighters families whose child has unfortunately lost their battle with cancer. The funeral assistance is paid directly to a funeral home in one of the 13 counties served by Candlelighters.
TOILETRY BAGS & SUPPLY CART
Toiletry Bags are available for families who are in the hospital and need personal toiletry items. Families often arrive at the hospital after an emergency or following a doctor visit and are not prepared for a hospital stay. Candlelighters provides personal toiletry items as well as general supplies (leggings, socks, blankets etc.) needed for that unexpected stay.
Treasure Chests filled with small toys and activities are available for patients and their siblings at both MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital and Texas Children’s Cancer Center for those days you just need a little pick-me-up.
MY CANCER JOURNAL
A journal for patients to help them care for their mind and spirit throughout their treatment. Journaling helps patients deal with emotions and feelings at their own speed without being pressed to share with others.
A Newsletter for all Candlelighters families, donors, volunteers and community partners with articles on school issues, emotional support and childhood cancer. The newsletter connects all our families with a calendar of events and happenings, articles from long-term survivors and patients on treatment, memorials, and photos and articles of interest to our families, our sponsors and our donors.
Adopt-A-Family for the Holidays provides hope, support and practical help to families during the holiday season. Our Adopt-A-Family program pairs organizations, companies, and community members with a Candlelighters family, spreading holiday cheer to childhood cancer families. This heartwarming program offers sponsors the opportunity to personally interact with families.
ANNUAL EVENTS FOR FAMILIES
Camp CLIFF (Children Loved In Families Forever) is a unique camp that includes the entire family, providing a weekend away from cancer. Families enjoy a camping experience and an opportunity to spend time away from the hectic routines of hospitals and treatments.
FALL FAMILY FESTIVAL
Fall Family Festival, held in October each year, is a fun event for the entire family with food, games, carnival events, recreational activities, and surprises.
Rodeo Cook-off is held on the last Saturday of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Bar-B-Que Contest and hosts Candlelighters families for the day which includes a Bar-B-Que lunch, entertainment, and carnival passes.
Thanks to our close relationships with professional sports teams in Houston, we often receive tickets for families to attend local sporting events.
Summer Surprises is held each summer at each hospital. Volunteers deliver gifts to children in the hospital or at the clinic. The event includes handing out gifts and sweets to all of the childhood cancer patients and their siblings. It brings some “holiday” cheer in the middle of summer to children undergoing treatment at the cancer centers.
Please contact your Parent Consultant if you are in immediate need of any of these services or are interested in attending an event. Support in the form of these services and events is subject to funding and not guaranteed.