You cannot believe what happened to me today at school. I had one of the worst days ever. I never thought people could be so insensitive to a student’s condition. Since I was diagnosed with cancer I have only been to school a few times. So you can only imagine how shocked I was when I was asked four times to remove my hat and expose my naked head! Having to confront people who you don’t even know and defend yourself by telling them you have cancer and I’m bald is very hard to deal with.
The cancer has taken my hair along with my body and now it is trying to attack my dignity. Unfortunately, no one can truly know how I feel unless they have been through all that I have endured. I had to leave school I could not even make it through lunch, being reminded of my cancer by other people was just too much for me to bear. I thought having cancer was bad enough but the lack of understanding for someone like me, a teen with cancer, was so disappointing. I hope I never have another horrible confrontation like that again.
Love, Your Friend, Alicia"
For the 89,000 adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer every year, there are tremendous gaps they face in how they are treated, the coordination of their services, and access to quality-of-life resources. On top of these barriers, they are more likely to experience greater decreases in their quality of life as they battle their cancer while going through significant life changes. A common feeling is being abandoned by friends and acquaintences who are too scared or uncomfortable to be around those with the disease.
“You stop growing and changing into the young adult you’re scheduled to become.”
If you are interested in becoming involved with ARVF and supporting teenage patients, here are some ideas!
Have a Teen Kit Drive
Hospitalized teens are always looking for things to do while waiting around for treatments. Have a Teen Kit Drive to collect: Boys & Girls socks, Lip Balm, Fabric Markers, or playing cards. The items must be new, unused, and preferably still in original packaging. Once your Teen Kit Drive is completed, you can either mail or bring the items to our office and the items will get shipped in a Teen Kit for a hospitalized teen!
Host a Bandana Day
"Even though I would wear bandanas and hats to cover my dome, not everyone was well informed of my condition and I was humiliated and intimidated when I was asked to take off my hat because of school policy." – Alicia, 2002
After Alicia lost her battle with cancer, her friends decided that students needed to raise awareness about the struggles that teen cancer patients face. Your classroom, club, or team can be part of a national Teens 4 Teens movement to raise awareness for teens battling cancer. By hosting a Bandana Day at your school, students choose a colorful and fun bandana or a bandana band to wear on one day. Proceeds from these events support our Victorious 4 Teens programs for hospitalized teens. You can even personalize your event by having it in memory/honor of someone you know who has battled cancer, or another illness, and reigns as a local role model. What better way for your school to “show their colors” for friends or family members that cannot attend school with their peers?
Be Creative! Do Your Own Thing!
Raising funds for the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation is fun and exciting! YOUR imagination is the key! All the proceeds from your “fun”- raiser will directly support Victorious 4 Teens programs in your local hospital. Here are just a few “fun” ideas:
- Have a Dance, Swim, or Bowl-a-Thon.
- Make your own ARVF Roses . Students write their names, & have a contest to see which class gets the most roses
- Teacher ‘Dress Down Day’.
- Have a Fashion or Craft Show! Demonstrate your talents by creating with bandanas!
- Have a Bake Sale with a contest for best-baked goods.