“A drop of hope starts an overflowing cup.” – Brianne Banning, Founder of Brave Bald & Beautiful
In honor of World Cancer Day, let’s take a moment to recognize some of Wichita’s most brave little fighters. Because cancer isn’t something that only happens to someone else’s child in some other state. While it might not be a part of your personal story, not every family in our community has been afforded the same fate. In homes throughout Wichita, cancer has come to do battle with a child who lives there, and these children need us to join with them as they fight to kick cancer to the curb. Holding our own healthy babies close while whispering, “Thank God it’s not us,” cannot be the answer, if for no other reason than we are a community who belongs to each other. Instead, we must put on our boxing gloves and join these brave little fighters in the ring, letting them know that their city has their backs.
So how, exactly, can you join in the fight? I’m SO glad you asked!
The following are five local organizations that help Wichita children and their families battle cancer, and I’ve no doubt they would love to have you partner with them as we join the global effort on WorldCancerDay to raise cancer awareness and press everyone across the world to take action!
Brave Bald & Beautiful
Brave Bald & Beautiful has a passion for providing emotional and spiritual support to children with cancer, their family, and classmates. They are a non-profit organization that began when local mom, Brianne Banning, found her daughter, Baylee, battling cancer twice in five years time. Concerned about explaining to Baylee that her hair was going to fall out, Banning created the Hair Fairy, a fairytale character who (much like the Tooth Fairy who comes to collect lost teeth) would come and collect Baylee’s fallen hair. Seeing how the Hair Fairy brought a drop of hope during an empty time, Banning now seeks to share that same hope with other children fighting cancer in our city and across the country. The Hair Fairy can be found authoring books that help to build a fighter’s self esteem, bringing joy and gifts to children in the hospital, and visiting elementary classrooms as she spreads her message of compassion, courage, and perseverance. Please consider partnering with the Hair Fairy through monetary donations, volunteer opportunities, or by joining the Hair Fairy Fighter’s Club because as the Hair Fairy would say, “All children deserve a fighting chance, even if they’re bald!”
Camp Quality is all about providing hope for the future! They exist to serve children with cancer and their families by providing year-round programs, experiences, and companionship, at no cost to the family. Camp Quality also helps children foster life skills and develop their full potential, while at the same time allowing children fighting cancer to be children once again. They seek to create a stress free camp environment, while providing the families of children with cancer a much needed rest. Wichita is blessed to have such an amazing camp right here in our city! Check out their website to learn more about donating financially or becoming a Camp Quality companion, sponsor, or volunteer.
Victory in the Valley
While not solely serving those fighting childhood cancers, Victory in the Valley seeks “to encourage cancer patients and families on their journey by offering HOPE through emotional and spiritual support, while providing practical services to improve the quality of their lives.” They offer a number of services including, but not limited to, lodging assistance, a Hospitality Centre, Canine Friends therapy dogs, support groups, and Camp Victory Kids and Family Day Camp, all at no charge. Please consider supporting this organization as they seek to support those in our community who are suffering.
Wichita Cancer Foundation
As stated on their website, the vision of the Wichita Cancer Foundation is ensuring cancer patients receive the treatments needed while minimizing their financial burden. They seek to provide financial assistance for those whose care is initiated or received in Sedgwick county. If you are interested in partnering with them, they would greatly appreciate the gift of either “your time or your treasure.”
Wichita’s Littlest Heroes
“Love gives the courage to transform pain into power.” – Brianna Coffey, Founder and CEO of Wichita’s Littlest Heroes. This local organization exists to give “physical and emotional support to families with children fighting life threatening illnesses” including, but not limited to, pediatric cancers. Some ways you can support Wichita’s Littlest Heroes include sponsoring a night out for the group, becoming a T-shirt sponsor, or getting your classroom involved with the Cards for Kids program. Please visit their website to learn more!