Young adults can be considered children, too
By Lindsey Gross
Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation (NNCCF) has a broader definition of “child” than most foundations. While NNCCF helps many children under the age of 18, the foundation also provides financial support for young adults under the age of 21. Unfortunately, some families with young adults battling cancer are unaware that they are eligible for assistance. NNCCF aims to inform the community that the foundation has resources and support available for young adults.
One family recently learned that their son was eligible solely by coincidence. John Hartman heard on the radio that NNCCF was hosting radiothon at Scheels, the foundation’s 12-hour finale to a five-month campaign raising awareness and funds to help local children in their fight against cancer. John is a father of twin 19-year-old boys, Johnny and Richard. Johnny, a sophomore at CalPoly State University, was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. John was touched by his family’s experience and decided to make a donation to NNCCF. Unbeknownst to him, he walked into what would become a strong support system for his own son and family.
That night the Hartmans filled out the NNCCF Family Assistance application. NNCCF has the capability of helping young adults who are currently in treatment or in follow-up care for cancer. Many young adults are not eligible for assistance from organizations that specialize in helping children because the age of adulthood in the United States is 18. At NNCCF, as long as a young adult diagnosed with cancer submits an application before the age of 21, they are eligible for emotional and financial assistance until the age of 25.
In 2016, 144 families received support through NNCCF’s Family Assistance Fund and 19 percent of those children were over the age of 18. NNCCF expanded assistance to this older population three years ago to run parallel to its Inspire Survivorship Program that offers services such as scholarships and vocational training for young adults. Through generous grants, NNCCF afforded 15 cancer survivors $57,319 in scholarships through the Inspire Survivorship Program last year. This program offers survivors support and encouragement in the pursuit of achieving their dreams.
NNCCF provided support for the Hartmans as Johnny started aggressive chemotherapy back in January. The family is celebrating as Johnny recently completed his final day of chemotherapy last week, and is hopeful his next scan will continue to show no active cancer in his system. Johnny is ready to get back to normal life and resume studying to become an architect.
The day John walked into Scheels and met the NNCCF staff, there was one thing in particular that stuck with him. It was a response from NNCCF’s Executive Director Debbie Strickland upon hearing his family’s story: “It’s our turn to help you.” John was overwhelmed by the positivity and support he received after speaking with the staff and learning that his family was eligible for assistance. The Hartmans are eager to have Johnny healthy and to also give back to the foundation. One could say it was a bit of fate or a stroke of luck that John decided to give a donation that day. He may have never known that his son was eligible for assistance. NNCCF hopes to help all families with children in the fight against cancer so that they too can have the care and support system the Hartmans found.
The Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation is the region’s only local nonprofit solely dedicated to serving local children and their families affected by childhood cancer. NNCCF’s programs and services include the Family Assistance Fund, Inspire survivorship program, Adopt-a-Family program and emotional support through counseling and family activities. For more information, call (775) 825-0888, visit www.nvchildrenscancer.org or follow on social media @NVKidsCancer.