“There’s No Place Like Hope” for children with cancer and their families

When Jasmin was diagnosed with cancer, she was only one year old.

Every year, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF) provides guidance and companionship, as well financial and emotional support to families in the Tri-County areas who have a child facing pediatric cancer. Last year and now, due to the pandemic, life has become tougher on these families who have a child who is immunocompromised.

Whether it be a single-family household, or an entire family in need, TBCF has offered hope, comfort and stability during this time, when they need it more than ever. Families battling pediatric cancer have been dealing with isolation, fear, uncertainty and the loss of “normal” for so much longer than we’ve been fighting this pandemic and they’ve been doing it alone. TBCF aims to help support these families with basic needs going into 2021.

One child TBCF has provided for throughout the years is Jasmin Castro from Ventura County, who has lived with cancer her entire life. Her story is truly one of courage, hope, and grit.

When Jasmin was diagnosed with cancer, she was only one year old. The treatments saved her life, but left her almost completely deaf, and with other disabilities. During this time, TBCF assisted Jasmin’s family with financial support, and she began attending their family support groups so she did not go through this alone.

Years later, when Jasmin was 10, TBCF and Santa Barbara Police Foundation partnered to raise funds for state-of-the-art hearing aids which was truly a miracle for her and her family. After Jasmin received the hearing aids, she heard birds chirping for the first time in her life and her and her family were so happy! With the help of the hearing device, her determination to succeed, and community support, Jasmin became a straight-A student, played softball, and danced.

As she continued to attend TBCF’s family support groups and became a role model for other children battling cancer. She helped other families feel less alone. Nothing could stop her. Then five years later, she suffered a brain aneurysm and was in a coma for 3 weeks. She lost her ability to walk, talk and eat, and she had to start over again. But Jasmin never stopped fighting. She went back to school and although It was hard, she never gave up. She graduated from high school with honors and is now studying to become a nurse. She has been attending Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s family support group for the past 17 years. Jasmin never gave up on herself and Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation will never give up on her.

Jasmin is just one of the family stories of hundreds of children in the Tri-County areas facing pediatric cancer and now these families need hope more than ever as we stay in lockdown. To learn more or make a donation and give a family hope during COVID-19, please visit https://www.teddybearcancerfoundation.org/

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation advocates for families living in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties that have a child with cancer by providing financial, educational, and emotional support.

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