Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance – founded by families of children with cancer FOR families of children with cancer; to be a light in the darkness.

We are there each and every day providing emotional, educational, and practical support to families of children with cancer.


Although this is our mission statement, it does not tell the whole story, the story of how Candlelighters is there supporting thousands of families each month in a way only we can.

It does not tell the story of the special bond that develops between a Parent Consultant and the family of a child newly diagnosed with cancer. They serve as a peer to help navigate the overwhelming world of medical jargon, insurance claims, and treatment plans.

It does not tell the story of the thousands of dollars that a family will spend on parking, meals, and groceries while their child is undergoing treatment and how Candlelighters is there to ease that burden.

It does not tell the story of so many families who would not be able to celebrate the holiday season if it were not for our Adopt-A-Family Program. Individuals, corporations, and many groups come together each year to provide a special holiday for hundreds of children and their families.

It does not tell the story of the family that has to come to terms with the fact that their child is not going to survive. The countless hours Candlelighters Parent Consultants sit with families listening and providing solace during their time of need is priceless.

And…it does not tell the story of the precious time that families spend together at Camp CLIFF (Children Loved in Families Forever) experiencing the magic and fun of camp, surrounded by one another and caring Candlelighters volunteers. Camp is always a time to be treasured!

The stories are endless, as are the needs of the families who have children battling cancer. Candlelighters thanks you for your awareness that…

No family has to face childhood cancer alone.


Candlelighters began in 1989 with two parent support groups from the Texas Medical Center: one at Texas Children’s Cancer Center and one at The Children’s Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson Cancer Center. The parent group at Texas Children’s Cancer Center sought formal incorporation, and in 1993 Candlelighters was legally formed. In the fall of 1993, they invited the parent group from the Children’s Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson Cancer Center to join them and the two organizations merged into one.

The founding families’ first plan of action was to develop a program to connect families of children with cancer in order to provide the kind of support they wished they had while their children were on active treatment. Thus, the Parent Consultant Program was born.

Since 1992, Candlelighters Parent Consultants (parents of children with cancer) have been providing daily support to families of children receiving treatment at The Children’s Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Texas Children’s Cancer Center. We have grown from two Parent Consultants to five, and are still meeting daily with families at these institutions in the Texas Medical Center as well as the Texas Children’s Hospital West and Woodlands campuses.

Our programs and services for families of children with cancer are not limited to in-patient families, but extend beyond the hospital walls. Over the years, we have learned how critically valuable it is for our Parent Consultants to be able to personally hand parents of children with cancer practical assistance such as a meal pass, parking assistance, or gas card; as well as provide opportunities for families to make memories together outside the hospital walls. It is our greatest honor and privilege to bring this type of comfort to childhood cancer families when stress is so high and they feel so helpless.


Candlelighters serves all children with cancer and their families at every stage of their journey. Our support extends to families of children on-treatment, long term survivors, adult survivors, and those whose child lost their battle with cancer. Cancer does not discriminate and neither does Candlelighters. All our programs and services are offered at no cost to families of children with cancer; once a Candlelighters family = always a Candlelighters family.