Candlelighters NYC helps kids fighting cancer. Kids from all over the world come to New York City to receive the best pediatric cancer treatment available. We provide a support system full of fun and comfort while they are so far away from home.
Here are some of the specific ways we support our families:
Families arrive from all over the world for the best treatment for their children in NYC, but they arrive with no strollers or only cheap umbrella strollers. Families must push their kids in strollers to and from the hospital every day and all over the New York City bumpy streets. The strollers we provide are top of the line City Joggers. They are light but comfortable for the kids, since so many have just had very painful treatment.
Families call our Candlelighters family before they arrive in NY. They are scared, coming alone to a big city, the unknown. We speak on the phone and reassure them that we will be with them all the way in NYC. We then ensure to meet them in person as soon as they arrive. Candlelighters families are given all of our volunteer’s cell phone numbers upon their arrival, so that they can contact us at any time.
We sit with families during surgery, scans, and in-patient stays. We bring blankets, pillows, toiletries, comfort food, activities, or anything they may need to make their life easier.
Sometimes families arrive with one suitcase and end up staying for months. They don’t always have the proper clothing for cold NYC winters, nor the money to buy new. We help provide needed items such as coats, boots, hats, gloves.
We provide free babysitting for the kids so mom, or mom and dad, can have a break, for both inpatient and outpatient children.
We are not just volunteers, we are friends. We are a shoulder to cry on, a person to confide in, a big hug when needed. We are a fun distraction from the daily hospital routine.
Food Gift Cards
When possible, we provide food gift cards to families to help pay for the expensive meals in NYC. This includes funds for food from local grocery stores or restaurants.
Birthdays are so important to kids, but even more so to kids who are fighting cancer. We assure that each child will have a celebration if they are in NYC on their birthday. Through our partners, we are able to provide elaborate birthday cakes, and have big parties with presents Candlelighters purchases for the kids. We include other cancer fighters, siblings, and parents in these parties, and make sure our kids feel special on their birthday.
Many families end up away from home on major holidays, and the kids are worried that there won’t be any celebration. Candlelighters assures them that there is nothing to worry about; holidays will be celebrated.
- Halloween- Parties donated by Sugar Factory and Maz Mezcal with costumes bought at Party City
- Christmas- Santa Visit at Bloomingdales with lunch at Venieros
- Thanksgiving Day- Parade viewing inside with breakfast served
- Fourth of July- fireworks viewing
- NYE- ball drop party with champagne for parents
Central Park Concerts
We are close friends with the Central Park Police, and this allows us VIP access to all Central Park concerts. Some of the most popular are the Good Morning America concert series, New York Philharmonic, and Global Citizens Music Festival.
Whether it is becoming an honorary member of the Central Park Police, being a VIP attendee at a concert/sporting event or going backstage at the NYC Ballet, we aim to give families uplifting and unique experiences while in NYC.
Gifts for the Kids
Around Christmas and Chanukah time, we run a large Secret Santa program to ensure that every child receives special gifts for the holidays.
We provide free passes to The MOMA, The Whitney Cooper Hewitt, The Central Park Zoo, and The Bronx Zoo and Aquarium.
One of the most important things that we do is introduce families with similar diagnoses. It is nearly impossible to understand what you are going through when your child is diagnosed with cancer. By introducing families, they begin to develop support systems who truly understand exactly what they are going through, and can provide support and advice through such a difficult time.
We offer care packages to families arriving in NYC and look to customize them based on family and child.