Reflecting On How Far We Have Come: Supporting Children With Cancer and Their Families

posted on Thursday, May 10, 2018

Tomorrow is the final day of fundraising, which brings us to our next program area—supporting families dealing with childhood cancer. The Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation is proud to have provided $250,000 to assist in the establishment of the Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. The Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, designed uniquely for kids and families, cares for 600 patients throughout the year, performing approximately 200 procedures and 7,000 infusions annually.

The Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation also donated an additional $250,000 to assist in the creation of Children’s Cancer Connection’s Hansen Home for Hope. Located just minutes from Blank Children’s Hospital, the Hansen Home for Hope offers a place for families with children undergoing oncology treatments to gather for events, programs and numerous services for patients, parents and siblings.

Hansen Home for Hope also provides a warm and welcoming space for families utilizing services and care at Blank Children’s Hospital to do laundry, take a shower, cook a meal and relax.
In February, employees of Iowa Select Farms organized and shipped 600 Valentine’s Day Care Packages for every family associated with the Children’s Cancer Connection, bringing a smile to the faces of children and siblings alike.

In June, parents of Children’s Cancer Connection opened their mail to find Grilling Pork Bucks, a pork coupon kit complete with summer grilling recipes and ideas. The kit was designed to welcome the season of backyard grilling and outdoor family activities and was stuffed with $40 worth of coupons for fresh pork, bacon, ribs, ham and ground pork.

In August, the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation organized the “Back-to- School Bash” in cooperation with Children’s Cancer Connection. The event features games, crafts, food and free school supplies for kids. Families are also treated to dinner and outdoor activities, along with fun raffles and fellowship. Kids get excited about school by participating in three “classes”— Art, English and Recess! At the end of the event, the families pick out their school and art supplies, all donated by the employees and contractors of Iowa Select Farms.

In October, children opened their doors to a spooktacular surprise. The Halloween Care Packages arrived at the homes of 600 special families the weekend before Halloween. Inside the care package children found a box within filled with chewy, gooey and gummy treats. Two bags of caramel popcorn dressed in orange, black, purple and green lay next to festive Halloween foaming soaps.

Tucked between a sticker book and a make-your-own candy jewelry kit, kids found a Halloween Family Activity Book created by the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation. The activity book contained 70 pages full of bingo, mazes, recipes, games and activities.

A December Christmas party comes complete with crafts, games and special gifts. Nearly 50 children participated in the 2016 event at the Hansen Home for Hope for the annual “Holiday Drop Off + Children’s Party.” The event allows parents of families undergoing cancer treatment an evening to shop for presents, enjoy a quiet dinner or run errands while their children enjoyed pizza, crafts and bingo.

Iowa Select Farms employees teamed up with Children’s Cancer Connection staff and volunteers to organize the crafts and activities throughout the evening. A short program included a reading of “Twas The Night Before Christmas” and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation also provided a present for every child who attended, and the crafts completed by the children earlier in the evening were wrapped and presented to the parents during pick-up.