We are HUGE supporters of St. Jude!!! We are biased but what can I say.. they helped to save our son and we are forever thankful!! Thankful doesn't really describe what we are and so we show our thanks by helping St. Jude in any way we can. You don't only have to give to St. Jude though, even though we would love it. There are other amazing organizations that do some awesome things to help kids battling cancer. Some of these are Give Kids the World, Ronald McDonald House, Make-A-Wish, Leukemia Society, Austin Hatcher Foundation, Cure Search, Alex's Lemonade Stand, St. Baldricks, Cookies for Kids Cancer, and the list can go on.
We personally know Give Kids the World, Make-A-Wish, Ronald McDonald House, Leukemia Society, St. Jude, and Cure Search. We have taken part in their organizations and only have wonderful things to say about all of them. I would donate to each and every one of them!! Feel free to look them up, read about the great things they do and donate if you wish. The kids appreciate it so much!!
When Montana was sick people asked what they could do. At first, we really didn't know and so people donated money and that is great!! As time went on, we realized we could have used lots of gas cards. Before there was a St. Jude affiliate in Springfield, MO we were driving to and from Memphis, which is a 4 hour drive. It totaled up in miles and in funds.
As for Montana, we ended up finding out that he couldn't walk very well and eventually had to relearn to walk all together. The meds he was taking were really hard on his feet and he cried and cried. I had to carry that chunky monkey everywhere. He ended up wearing lots of Crocs. I swear, we could have been spokes people for the company. For three years, Montana wore NOTHING but Crocs. They were soft for his feet, he could take them off easy at appointments and they were simple. So if you need some ideas... soft shoes. I have seen lots of older kids wearing house shoes around the hospital as well.
Another idea.. ipods. We didn't have one or anything like that in the beginning. At the end of treatment, which was 2.5 years out, we eventually got one and it was a life saver. Being a cancer patient means LOTS and LOTS of waiting. It makes going to the "normal" doctor seem like icing on the cake. A usual day starts at about 8am and you are happy to get done at 2pm. That is how it goes day in and day out. So we did lots of walking around the hospital, if you weren't attached to a med pole. Maybe a group of people could go in on getting a patient an ipod. They truly are lifesavers.. especially for the parents. :) If the patient is happy, then mom and dad are happy.
Food meals set up are always good as well. When you leave the hospital and finally get home you have nothing in the fridge and you don't feel like cooking. On top of that, Montana didn't eat like he used to. He ate next to nothing after his diagnosis. Nothing tasted the same and he relied on alot of prepackaged meals since he wasn't allowed to eat anything that was left out for over an hour. It made it so hard when he ate so little. Lots of food went in the trash. Also, capri sun!!! Can I say Capri Sun??? Boxes and boxes of that stuff is great!!!! Seriously, St. Jude patients aren't allowed to drink anything opened after a certain time and Capri Suns are great for on the go.
Cards.. send them cards and mail and pictures and things. These poor kids get sooo bored sitting in a bed. Our poor guy wanted to get up and go and he just couldn't. On top of that, he was in quarantine for the first three weeks. No leaving his room at all! It was so hard for our little outdoor boy to sit in a bed and do next to nothing. Movies, books, puzzles and coloring books were great as well! Our collection of movies grew ten fold!!
These are just some of the ideas off the top of my head. With this month coming to end and it being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I thought I would share our own personal experience. If you feel like donating to a specific cause, we are doing the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk in November and this is our own page for Montana. This is our 4th year doing this and it's always fun to get out with the crowd to support such an amazing hospital. We want nothing more than for Montana to realize the gift that he was given because of such and amazing hospital and all the wonderful people who helped him throughout his battle.
This is most of what he did while in treatment. He laid around, watched lots of TV, and I carried him. He was tired alot and very whiney. Can you blame him?
Poor guy would get so tired so fast when he ran around. I remember we were playing in the backyard with him and he just finally laid down in the grass. The photo after this... we just got done with a full day of treatment at St. Jude and were on our way back to the Ronald McDonald House. He was exhausted and yet he loved riding in the bus. This day, however, he didn't talk and didn't do anything but stare. I think the treatments and the exhaustion of just being there was setting in.
Montana couldn't walk any longer and he sat in a chair most of the time. He had put on so much weight because of the DEX. Poor thing didn't even look like himself anymore but he still had that soft sweet voice.
Day one of treatment. We just arrived and he got his port put in on day 3. We were officially parents of a child with Leukemia. How??
When Montana was diagnosed it was the week before Thanksgiving. We spent the entire holiday season sitting in a room because he was in quarantine... Christmas and the New Year. I remember holding him and not knowing what was in store for our little boy... scary.
At St. Jude you pay for nothing!! I mean nothing! We have spent many nights at the Grizzly House waiting for his appointments the next day. St. Jude flies you to Memphis and puts you up at their "hotel" on campus. We have been so fortunate to be able to go to such a great hospital. Montana will be going here until he is 18.
Need I say more?...
All I wanted was for him to wear this bandana that someone gave him. He never would and all he did was scream and cry. He hated it! One day he put it on and ran around the yard laughing and giggling. It was the only time he wore it and I was blessed to get some photos.