Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s Gold Ribbon Campaign raises awareness for pediatric cancer

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Gold Ribbon Honoree, Susie Perry, helped host a special birthday for the Ortiz Family as their daughter, Ximena, battled cancer.

Just imagine having a child with cancer during this COVID-19 crisis–a pandemic that is leading to job loss and insecurity, financial hardship, mounting health concerns, and an overworked and exhausted health care community.

COVID-19 is creating even greater challenges for local families battling childhood cancer. Many of these families have lost their jobs and are no longer able to buy food and clothing for their families, or pay rent or medical expenses, including critical prescriptions.

During this challenging time, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF) has been providing even more services for families, including money for rent assistance, grocery gift cards, additional emotional support groups with licensed therapists, virtual and in-person tutoring, meal and care package delivery, and virtual family fun events to keep their kids engaged. Community support has made it possible for TBCF to provide additional financial assistance to 31 local families who have been severely affected by the pandemic.

When Ximena was five, her family noticed she was having difficulties using the bathroom properly. After seeing the doctor a few times and not receiving a diagnosis, the Ortiz family noticed she had a bump on the right side of her stomach. They took Ximena to Ventura County Medical Center to receive a cat-scan, where it was discovered that she had Wilm’s tumor – a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children. The doctors told the Ortiz family Ximena would need surgery, as the tumor on her kidney was putting pressure on her veins.

Ximena went into surgery just a few short days later and began to receive small doses of preventative chemotherapy once weekly for six months. This became complicated for the Ortiz family, as the treatment location was two hours away. During this difficult time, TBCF helped support the Ortiz family as Ximena’s mom, Araceli, had resigned from her job to take care of Ximena.

To date, TBCF has helped the Ortiz family through their Direct Financial Assistance fund, which provided Araceli with food, gas and car repairs as she took Ximena to receive treatment. TBCF has also provided support to the Ortiz family with in-person and virtual Family Connection Events, where they bonded with other families going through similar situations.

Ximena’s treatment ended in December 2019, but TBCF has continued to provide support during the pandemic. Additional ways the organization has helped the family are by providing Ximena and her two siblings toys through their Project Christmas program, and by offering continued virtual support and phone check-ins. One of this year’s Gold Ribbon Campaign 2020 Honorees, Susie Perry, helped the Ortiz family by hosting a special birthday party for Ximena when she was sick.

TBCF will be hosting their annual Gold Ribbon Campaign throughout the month of September to raise funds during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the annual in-person Gold Ribbon Luncheon at the Four Seasons Biltmore has been cancelled, which is a major source of funding for the nonprofit. This year, the Campaign is solely focused on raising funds and awareness for the organization and the families they serve.

Through donations and continued support, TBCF can help more families like the Ortiz family.

To participate in TBCF’s Gold Ribbon Campaign for National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, please visit TBCF at: https://bit.ly/32t4YeM

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