Champions for Children through the Healing Journey
Dear Friends, We hope you and your families are safe and well and doing what you can to protect yourself, your family, friends and community during this unprecedented moment in our lives. During these days of uncertainty and distress, Berni & Murcer - Friends for Life would like to express our sincere gratitude to you from the bottom of our hearts for all you do in helping us to bring comfort, inspiration, hope and healing to children and their families diagnosed with cancer. These tough and testing times remind us just how important our work means to these children and their families as they navigate through difficult journeys toward hope and healing. Your love and generosity mean so much to us! WE'RE in this TOGETHER! Much love and hugs, the Berni & Murcer - Friends for Life Team
The song, "Your Faithful Friend" was written and composed by musician, Chris Coogan at the request of the "Berni & Murcer - Friends for Life" organization as a musical gift of song to inspire, encourage and to give hope to children who have been diagnosed with cancer and other life threatening illnesses. The child's "Faithful Friend" is Berni, the Bernese Mountain Dog who is his or her trusted and loyal companion throughout their days of joy and tears, providing strength and courage, and giving them a lifetime of love, happiness and friendship. During these challenging days, we hope this song will bring light to your day, lift your heavy hearts, and inspire you in knowing that we are each other's "Faithful Friend!" #We're in this Together
How to Protect Children with Cancer (Tips during COVID-19 season) By: Trish Adkins (courtesy of Alex's Lemonade Stand)
Children battling cancer not only face the health effects of the cancer itself, but they also face short- and long-term side effects. During treatment, typical therapies like chemotherapy and radiation can compromise a child’s immune system, putting them more at risk for illnesses like COVID-19.
Why is it important to protect children with cancer?
Treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplantation and other therapies can weaken the immune system. Chemotherapy drugs, in particular, damage or destroy the cells inside the bone marrow, lowering the number of white blood cells and other immune system cells circulating in the body. When the number of infection-fighting white blood cells is low, a child is in danger of developing serious infections and compromised at fighting those infections. In addition, children in treatment for cancer often cannot receive routine vaccinations, which puts them at risk for other communicable diseases. For children with bodies that are already recovering from cancer, the risk of illnesses is enormous.
What do I need to know to help kids with cancer?
There is so much unknown about COVID-19. As public health professionals and researchers work to find ways to treat and prevent COVID-19, it is up to us to remain aware and vigilant. The one thing we do know: if we all work together, we can protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19 and other cold and flu viruses.
Here’s what you need to know to protect children with cancer during cold, flu and COVID-19 season:
1. Wash Your Hands
The Centers for Disease Control recommends frequent hand washing to stop the spread of illness. For families in the midst of cancer treatment, the ALSF Childhood Cancer Guide series recommends frequent, lengthy (at least 1 to 2 minutes) and thorough hand washing for every member of the family, as well as for all visitors. Use plenty of soap and warm water, lather well, and rub all portions of the hands, including between all the fingers and under the fingernails. Children and parents need to wash before preparing meals, before eating, after playing outdoors, after petting an animal, and after using the bathroom. In addition, avoid touching your face or anyone’s face.
2. Social Distancing
Limiting large group interactions can also help slow the spread of viruses. Even if childhood cancer is not in your family or community, your vigilance and practice of social distancing could limit the spread of cold and flu viruses in your community.
3. Cancer Treatment is Not Always Visible
Keep in mind that cancer treatment and a suppressed immune system are not always visible. While cancer treatment is often visible, children in treatment don’t always look like they are in treatment. To you, they may just look like a typical kid. And their siblings certainly won’t look like they are being impacted by childhood cancer. Everyone should always be vigilant about hand washing, face touching and staying home when experiencing cold and flu symptoms.
4. Families May Still Have to Travel
Just because COVID-19 is circulating, that does not mean childhood cancer treatment stops. Families and children with cancer still have to get to treatment and critical follow-up oncology visits. They have to fly on planes to get to clinical trials and commute to urban hospitals for clinic visits. By taking precautions like hand washing and social distancing, you can help keep the world a little safer and hopefully lower the risk of virus transmission.
5. When in Doubt, Ask Your Healthcare Provider
Always, when in doubt, talk to and follow your healthcare provider’s guidelines. Ask your doctor if you are experiencing an illness and need to know whether you are a risk to your loved one battling cancer or if you are a parent of a child with cancer and want to understand more about how you can protect your child.
6. Respect a Family’s Wishes
The bottom line: we each have to listen to medical professionals and listen to each other. The most important thing you can do to protect children with cancer is to respect the wishes of their family and caregivers. If they do not want visitors, if they request no touching, require you to scrub in and wash up before entering their home—do it.
Berni & Murcer - Friends for Life had a very successful Fairfield County Giving Day and it was all THANKS to YOU! A BIG SHOUT OUT goes to the Sacred Heart University Equestrian Team, Coaches and Horses - Alfie and Cheeky for helping to spread the word and for all their ongoing support of Berni & Murcer! They are a ROCK STAR TEAM!! #WeAreSHU We had a great time networking with over 400 other nonprofits at the Launch Day event and witnessed the tremendous outpouring of support of people in making a difference in the lives of others! We received over $1,100 in donations and for those of you who didn't have the opportunity to donate on Giving Day, you can make a donation at www.berniandmurcer.org. We look forward to you joining us during next year's Giving Day! THANK YOU again and #SpreadtheLove!!
Our Purpose Berni & Murcer – Friends for LifeTM is a specialized comfort program that works in collaboration with medical professionals and families to provide emotional support, day-to-day comfort, encouragement, and inspiration to children diagnosed with cancer and other life threatening illnesses through the use of manipulatives and materials that are designed to have therapeutic value. Our Goal To aid and advance the recovery of children while providing solace to their family members. As a comfort program, it is an essential component of the managed care process from diagnosis to reentry into community.
Our Call to Action
Each year, more than 27,000 children in the U.S., ages 3 to 18 are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. That’s over and above the many hundreds of thousands of children already diagnosed with a potentially deadly illness. Another powerful fact: each year, more than 40,000 children in the U.S. undergo treatment for pediatric cancer.
As one can imagine, these children and their families are faced with a struggle often filled with fear and emotional trauma. Treatments and surgical procedures can be scary and even disfiguring, causing many of these children to isolate themselves and become socially withdrawn. Debilitating anxiety and depression are also common among both patient and family members.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult for children and their families to find the emotional stability and support they need during this life changing event. While there are many organizations that offer help to seriously ill children, none has been established to do what Berni & Murcer – Friends for LifeTM does.
Here's how we do it...
Website by Berni & Murcer - Friends for LifeTM, Inc.