One of the friends we never would have made it through without – our dear friend Barbara. Barbara took us under her wing – waited on us – shopped for us – brought us special treats- gave us hugs – lots of love – gave me “mom” time away for beauty treatments and special lunches. She also treated Shannon to many “birthday” parties at our favorite restaurant, Mez Mescal on 86th street. Shannon would wear a sombrero on her head, speak all the Spanish words she knew, and flirt with the Mexican waiters that brought her as many candied cherries as she could eat. At the end of the meal – they would sing “Happy Birthday” in Spanish and watch Shannon blow out the candles on a Mexican treat. Oh – the memories – they flow freely and constantly. There are very few moments in my days – that memories such as these are not on my mind. The memories are precious and everlasting – fresh glimpses in a life with Shannon – not perfect , not without suffering and hardship, but beautiful in spite of all that.
Before I arrived in NYC, I had never heard of Candlelighters but had been communicating with Barbara via Facebook when she learned that we might be getting treating here. I had no expectations, but have been so blown away. I have never met anyone like Barbara Zobian more giving of their time, love, friendship, family, and connections! Candlelighters NYC are my family in New York. From the minute we got here we have been blessed with home cooked food, strollers, wine when we need, friendship connections with other amazing cancer families going through similar battles, babysitting, new toys, amazing trips to shows and venues, and unconditional love from a family that knows the city and has the biggest hearts!! My cancer fighting experience here would not be the same without them. I am forever grateful!!
Ava – As told by Mom, Nickelle Crowley
We met Barbara from Candlelighters, NYC through another family from our area who had treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC. We literally met her when Trevor was having surgery. She came to the hospital with blankets and pillows for Marc and I to sleep on while Trevor was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit recovering. She brought Trevor toys to make him smile when he came out of surgery. Barbara, her husband Stewart, and her sweet dog Uno welcomed Ava, Trevor, Marc and I into her home on many occasions and treated us like family. Barbara is a wonderful person who does amazing things for kids and their families being treated in the NYC area. It’s tough to be away from family for treatment. We think of them as our NYC family. We can’t thank them enough for their love, support, advice, gifts and the little creature comforts (like a nice glass of wine).
Sara Elizabeth Schweigert
My daughter Brianna and I traveled to NYC for what we thought would be a two day trip for a second opinion with a new team of doctors. Little did we know that those two days would turn into 11 long months. Leaving our family behind, and all the comforts of home, while taking on a vigorous chemotherapy and radiation regimen in preparation for a bone marrow transplant was no walk in the park. We are so very thankful we were able to meet Barbara and her family during our first month living at the Ronald McDonald House. They became our family in a sense and provided such comfort and joy to Brianna and I during our stay. We were able to enjoy outings that we would never of been able to experience on our own, we were gifted beautiful items, we were treated like family, and we were always shown kindness and compassion. Barbara and her family often put our needs in front of their own and were always there to lend a helping hand when needed.We will never forget Candlelighters NYC and all they have done for our family. It was because of them our 11 months away from home was enjoyable in many senses. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Danielle Howard – proud mother of Brianna
Sometimes, people look for other ways to support these children that is more tangible versus research. If you are one of these people, consider supporting Candlelighters NYC. Barbara Zobian who runs this organization does a tremendous amount that directly helps the children and their families. Examples include: providing strollers, trips to the LEGO store (one of Tripp’s favorites), visiting Central Park police and becoming an honorary NYPD officer, transportation through the city, parties, blankets and pillows (I can attest to how helpful this is while sleeping in the hospital) and so, so much more. This organization provides the necessities to get through long, hard treatment days far from home. She and her organization do what your friends and family would do if you were getting treatment at home. I know I speak for many of the families expressing my gratitude for Barbara and the commitment she has to our children.