DO’S AND DON’TS:
Getting gifts for anyone can be difficult, especially for those going through such a difficult time. Here are some helpful articles:
I Draw Childhood Cancer:
I Draw Childhood Cancer, based in Australia, was created by Angus Olsen. He is a Disney trained artist and father. His daughter, Jane faced intense cancer therapy for RMS cancer at two years old. He founded his organization in honour of her battle. His business sells books in several languages, art in the Disney style and merchandise displaying his art. His books would make a great gift for your child as well as provide an explanation for what their body is experiencing and going to experience through treatment, but in a simple way that’s easy to read. They are available digitally on his website free of charge or on Amazon.
Angus Olsen’s Amazon section:
The Princess Lily Book Series:
The Princess Lily book series is written for children with cancer audience and their friends. The author is Sarah Bankuti and the illustrator is Kristina Dutton. Sarah Bankuti has a daughter named Alice who is currently undergoing cancer treatment and is the inspiration for this series. The series is about Princess Lily who is sick, travels to the enchanted forest to help her and meets new friends with challenges that they face. If you are at SickKids Hospital, Alice will hand deliver your book herself.
Princess Lily Earns Her Beads Amazon listing:
Sarah Bankuti’s Youtube channel with Disney Princess read alouds:
Imagine a Rainbow:
Imagine a Rainbow is a book that is written by Brenda S. Miles and Nicole Wong. This book provides relaxing images and soothing rhymes. Some of the images the book gets you to imagine are puppies, clouds, rainbows and fields of daisies. It guides children through exercises that include imagery and their senses. This can help to cope with pain and fear throughout the treatment process.
The Can in Cancer:
The Can in Cancer is written by Julia Cook and illustrated by Allison Valentine. This book is about a boy named Eli that is diagnosed with cancer. It shows his story but through many points of view, including his parents, siblings, teachers and himself. This book really expresses that there is a “can” in cancer and that cancer is not a weakness.
The Miracle Workers, Boy vs Beast:
The Miracle Workers is an inspirational story written by Rene Marsh and illustrated by Sumi Collina. It takes place in a magic land and has colourful illustrations. It follows a rhyming format and tells a story about a boy named Blake. Blake has a big problem that feels almost impossible to fix. Blake believed he could overcome it, and he did. This book teaches the importance of hope and faith. All profits go to paediatric cancer research.
Henry the Brave & the Cancerasaurus:
Henry the Brave is written by Meg Hutter and illustrated by Ben Clark. This book is about a boy named Henry who discovers a creature that seems like a friend. This creature ends up to be a cancerasaurus. Throughout the book, Henry goes through many challenges caused by the cancerasaurus. To make the cancerasaurus disappear, he takes a trip to a castle where he needs to find a wizard who will help him. Henry’s magic saying is, “I am strong. I am tough. I am armed with love!”. This affirmation can be useful to children going through their challenges with cancer and help them to deal with the “cancerasaurus” with a positive attitude.
Autumn and the Bad Bean:
Autumn and the Bad Bean is “an empathetic, sympathetic, optimistic look at a child’s life with a rare form of brain cancer”. It was written in loving memory of Autumn Nicole Hoeft.
American Girl Feelings Journal:
The American Girl Feelings Journal is designed by the very popular American Girl brand for young girls! It is designed to help you to understand your feelings and discover strategies that will help you to cope with those feelings. It includes quizzes, fill-in-the-blank exercises, checklists and a specific section designated to techniques on how to be in touch with your emotions. The American Girl Feelings Journal can be useful for both patients and the people close to them, but it is designed for girls ages 8-12.
Other helpful books by American Girl:
Children’s Cancer Research Fund Cure Cancer Bears:
Their huggable C.C. Bear (short for Cure Cancer Bear) is available to children who are fighting cancer as well as their siblings, families and friends.
OPACC (Ontario Parents Advocating for Children with Cancer) – Million Dollar Smiles Program:
The Million Dollar Smiles Program provides childhood cancer families with free backyard playgrounds in the summer and Bearhug packages consisting of giant teddy bears and gift cards distributed around Christmas.
Feel Better Friends:
Feel Better Friends are handmade dolls stuffed with love and well wishes.
Brave Barbie Dolls:
Brave Barbie Dolls are a toy made through a partnership with Mattel and CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. They are providing childhood cancer patients with a Brave Barbie Doll to help them to feel less alone. The dolls are bald and come with two wigs and a head scarf. These dolls can help children to understand their hair loss and that it’s common among cancer patients. You can fill out a form online to apply for a doll.
BitsyAtwold is an Etsy shop that sells a handmade cancer “paper dress up” magnet set. This set includes 21 pieces for the doll. Some include a hospital gown, oxygen, mask, eye patch and syringe.
The Butterfly Pig:
The Butterfly Pig specializes in dolls and accessories that instill the values of self-love, respect for diversity, and inclusion of all. Their “You are You” collection contains handmade and carefully curated items to facilitate conversations about self-love and the beauty of everyone’s differences. They uniquely create doll-sized medical devices to help bring a representation of various disabilities and needs to the toy world.
The Butterfly Pig website shop:
Cozy Cat & Medical Play Kit:
The Cozy Cat is a toy designed by the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO). It is a soft stuffed animal designed for children with cancer. What makes this stuffed animal unique is that there is a gold ribbon embroidered above its heart, port attached to its chest, the ACCO logo on the cat’s foot, a g-tube, IV and more! The purpose of the Cozy Cat is to educate and company children throughout their cancer process. The Cozy Cat is free to all childhood cancer patients and is a great tool for decreasing anxiety and fear towards treatment.
Medical Play Kit – The ACCO also has a medical play kit available to every childhood cancer patient. This kit is used to familiarize tools that may be used and allow children in treatment to relate. The kit includes a stethoscope, arm board, thermometer, medical tape, tubing, rubber gloves, etc. These tools can be used to interact and connect with their Cozy Cat.
The idea for the Chemo Duck program was sparked by Gabe Sipos, to help children to learn about cancer treatment. This includes learning some medical terms and practicing the things that might frighten your child by the Chemo Duck going first. The Chemo Duck going first can help your child to feel calmer and less alone. Chemo Duck either comes with a port or Hickman central line that matches to your child.
The Chemo Duck can be ordered on their website at this link:
The Medi Teddy is a stuffed toy that covers the IV line drip bag in hopes to make children’s treatment a little more enjoyable when their teddy is doing it with them. Ella Casano was diagnosed with an auto immune disease at 7 years old and had to have IV infusions every six to eight weeks. She noticed that it made herself and other patients feel intimidated which sparked the idea to invent a product that can help decrease patient fear towards treatment. The back side is mesh so medical workers can monitor the amount the patient has had, and the tummy is blank so that your child can draw on it with washable markers. Ella is raising money so that children in treatment can receive a Medi Teddy for free.
More info on Ella’s mission:
My Special Aflac Duck:
My Special Aflac Duck was designed hand-in-hand with more than 100 families undergoing cancer treatment at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to create a companion that provides comfort and joy.
Medical Play Accessories:
The duck is designed to accompany kids during treatment and can be used in medical play. The duck comes equipped with a port-a-cath, stethoscope, pulse oximeter, syringe and even self-adherent wrap.
Children can communicate their feelings by tapping one of the 7 included feeling cards to the lights on the duck’s chest!
Designed with child life specialists and psychologists, Soundscapes™ let children listen to sounds of a forest, ocean, farm or amusement park – perfect for practicing distraction therapy.
Download the free companion app to extend the duck’s features and discover the duck’s virtual world.
CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES
Amanda’s Hope Rainbow Angels and the Comfycozy clothing line:
Comfycozy is a clothing line designed by Amanda Hope, who is a fighter of leukemia herself. Its purpose is for patients experiencing chemotherapy and central line treatments. The shirts come with zippers or buttons so that the port is easily accessible. On the Comfycozy website, if you were diagnosed before 18 years old and you have a central line you can apply online to receive a free Comfycozy!
Click below to fill out an application:
Kids Hope Chest creates medical equipment in fun shapes and creative, colourful designs. This is a great way to brighten up dreary hospital rooms and to make items such as feeding tubes and IV poles more manageable.
“Hospital gowns make you feel like just a number. They do not reflect these children’s personalities; they do not tap into the pure magic of a child’s spirit. They do not bring hope!”
Brave Gowns set out to make hospital stays more comfortable and bright for kids of all ages. They design bright, colourful gowns, pants, masks, pillowcases, blankets, backpacks, and even wall tapestries. Choose items that match the child’s personality, and add the child’s name or an inspiring message.
Complete this form to apply for a FREE gown:
Comfy Cases, run by OPAAC (Ontario), provides custom pillowcases to kids with cancer and their siblings.
StorkApparel is an Etsy shop that sells hospital gowns with fun designs for children. Their gowns have snaps in the back, making them very accessible for bathroom use. This product is very popular and has great reviews.
HEAD COVERINGS AND WIGS:
Headcovers sell many different colourful hats for boys and girls. They have hats that can be suited for any occasion. Receiving a hat as a gift can be a mood and confidence booster for children dealing with hair loss.
Wigs for Kids:
Wigs for Kids is a Canadian company that can create a Hair Replacement System at no cost if the following applies:
-18 years of age or younger
-Experiencing hair loss as a result of medical challenges
-Referred by a medical professional
-Comes from a family that can’t afford a wig
If all the above apply, you can submit an application online which will be sent to Wigs for Kids for evaluation. They accept donations including donations of hair.
Chai Lifeline’s mission is to bring joy and hope to children, families and communities impacted by serious illness or loss. Among their many services, they can also help provide children with wigs and head coverings.
SHARE THE GIFT OF MUSIC:
Ollie’s Orchestra’s mission is to provide music to childhood cancer patients and their families. Their goal is to bring joy and peace into their very stressful lives. Music is a tool that can be a stress reliever and a good way to distract the mind. They provide free backpacks of musical instruments or a children’s guitar to infants and children with a cancer diagnosis. They also try to link them with musicians and artists who can provide music lessons, “mini concerts”, and/or music therapy sessions for them and their families. In addition, Ollie’s Orchestra is working to create a database of pre-recorded music therapy and instrumental sessions for children and their families to access at any point during and after treatment.
Sign up here to apply for an instrument backpack or guitar: https://www.olliesorchestra.org/instruments
Songs of Love:
The Songs of Love Foundation is a non-profit organization that writes and produces free and personalized songs for children going through difficult times. You simply fill out an online survey that tells them about the child and they deliver the song digitally or on a USB drive. These songs can be very uplifting and help the child to feel special. The Songs of Love Foundation has collaborated with Ollie’s Orchestra to give their children the opportunity to request free “Songs of Love”.
OTHER GIFT IDEAS:
Choose Hope offers a range of products for children with cancer, such as clothing, jewelry, and journals. These are available in the colours associated with different types of cancer. Choose Hope also supports cancer research through donations.
Quilts for Kids:
Quilts for Kids is a nonprofit organization that transforms fabric into quilts for children facing serious illness, trauma, abuse, and natural disasters. Quilts for Kids is available in North America.
On Etsy, you will find many gift ideas. Here are a few:
WhimsicalSunGiftCo sells handmade cancer care packages. There are various packages that include many items, such as a scarf wrap, socks, lavender scented eye pillow, candle, lip balm, face mask, matches, personalized note, and more.
IfTheSockFitz sells cotton socks with various inspirational phrases or messages written on them. They come in four colour combinations with eight different messages.
- Nebraska Doll Closet – Awareness Ribbon Doll Scrubs
Nebraska Doll Closet sells handmade scrubs for 18-inch American girl dolls. A set includes a scrub top, pants, mask and cap. The scrub top has a cancer awareness ribbon printed on it.
SignatureLittleOnes sells handmade cozy blankets that make a great gift for children with cancer. The blankets come in several colours, sizes and materials, and they has several motivational messages printed like “BELIEVE YOU CAN” and “EMBRACE YOUR SPIRIT”.
- Little Elska – Personalized Stuffies:
- LeoEmulsion – Stuffed animals with “I am Brave” t-shirts:
- BoostBeBraveBuddies – Superhero Dolls for children with cancer:
Care packages / gift boxes:
A care package or gift box can make a great gift for a child going through cancer treatment.
Here are some links:
Helpful Links with more ideas: