February 1, 2005 > Bringing Out The Best In Kids
Bringing Out The Best In Kids
Optimist Club Focuses On Fight Against Childhood Cancer
by Susana Nuñez
Serving nearly six million young people each year, the Optimist International Childhood Campaign (CCC) volunteers have made it their mission to help fight against childhood cancer. They recognize a need to support young cancer victims and their families during this devastating period of their lives.
Optimists have been the ultimate "Friend of the Youth" since 1919 as they spread their positive, uplifting message to never lose hope. The CCC team pride themselves on their community projects, including last year's successful Many Hands to Help the Kids Project. The organization's achievements are a result of volunteers who have donated time and money. With 114,000 volunteers belonging to 3,500 CCC-based Clubs, the organization is stronger than ever. Battling a disease that strikes 10,000 U.S. children alone each year is a task that calls for the time, care, and compassion of a strong team of individuals. As the rate of cancer victims heightens, the CCC is not afraid to tackle the problem.
The CCC conducts a total of over 65,000 service projects a year. On a more local level, the Newark Optimist Club headed the Many Hands to Help the Kids Project in September of 2004. With the help of the Children's Hospital Oakland, Toys R Us, and KayBee toy stores, the group was able to get teddy bears, a variety of games, dolls and craft supplies for the children. They worked with the Patient Advocacy and Guest Relations Director, Susan Martinez, and Child Life Specialist Rebecca Rice to visit the children in the Immunocompromised Patient Unit of the Oakland Children's Hospital. The club then generously gave each child a teddy bear and filled their playroom with all the toys and games they had carefully chosen for them.
Of the 10,000 U.S. children diagnosed with cancer each year, over 3,000 die from the dreadful disease. Sadly, cancer is the number one disease killing children today. The CCC's goal is to help rid the world of cancer, and in order to accomplish this, they pledge to provide support not only for cancer victims and their loved ones, but also for childhood cancer research and healthcare providers. In addition, the group makes donations to families in dire need of help. With the help of the Cupertino De Anza Optimist Club, in September of 2004 the Newark Optimist Club donated $300 to help a local family. The family has one child who survived cancer, one who has diabetes, and one who has leukemia. In cases such as this, the clubs forming the CCC do the best they can to provide financial assistance for struggling families.
The CCC volunteers see childhood cancer as "the ultimate test," a difficult test they can help individuals overcome. With their determination and selfless services, Optimists brighten the days of young cancer victims. They give hope to those who may have given up and their actions are clearly making a difference in the lives of those suffering from the illness. Ridding the world of childhood cancer is a global effort and the CCC is always in need of volunteers and donations.
For more information:
Childhood Cancer Campaign
4494 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108
(800) 500-8130, ext. 230
Send your donation to:
Optimist International Foundations-
Childhood Cancer Campaign
P.O. Box 952126
St. Louis, MO 63195- 2126