The National Children’s Cancer Society Provides Life-Changing Mentor Relationship

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The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) offers the opportunity for a younger child going through cancer treatment to be paired with a mentor for emotional and social support.

“I wanted to send a huge thank you for everything you did to make DJ’s wish of meeting Jake happen…He was so excited when he got to meet Jake and seeing the smile on his face whenever he would talk about Jake will always hold a special place in my heart,” said Barb, DJ’s mom, in a note to the NCCS.

The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) offers the opportunity for a younger child going through cancer treatment to be paired with a mentor for emotional and social support. Mentors are the organization’s Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship recipients who overcame difficulties, showed determination and have been awarded funds toward their college tuition from the NCCS.

Each NCCS mentor is a guide, trusted ally and role model who can help a young child navigate the challenges of childhood cancer. These extraordinary relationships often have a huge impact on both the mentor and mentee. This was the case for Jake Waldron, a recent NCCS Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship recipient and DJ, his 10-year-old mentee.

Jake and DJ talked by phone once a week for months and developed a unique bond. In February 2019, doctors broke the devastating news to DJ’s family that they were out of treatment options. One of DJ’s biggest wishes in his final months was to meet Jake in person. With help from the NCCS who orchestrated the meeting by connecting with Miracle Flights, the two met finally in person. They talked, laughed, took pictures and played board games in DJ’s hospital room. The time together meant the world to DJ and provided a memorable day of joy before he passed away on April 20, 2019.

“I wanted to send a huge thank you for everything you did to make DJ’s wish of meeting Jake happen…He was so excited when he got to meet Jake and seeing the smile on his face whenever he would talk about Jake will always hold a special place in my heart,” said Barb, DJ’s mom, in a note to the NCCS.

The experience also had a lasting impression on Jake, who is using his NCCS scholarship to attend Syracuse University. He is majoring in economics and citizenship as well as civic engagement with the hope of one day working for a nonprofit organization. His time with DJ inspires him as he looks for ways to help others.

“I want to thank you guys for having the mentorship program because it has made such a significant perspective change for me. When I was going through treatment I always had that one person who I relied on. After visiting DJ, I realized that person for him is me. That has made everything worth it,” said Jake. “He helped and touched me far more than I can ever express. Thank you for this mentorship opportunity, it has truly been life-changing.”

The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a not-for-profit organization providing support to families making their way through the daunting world of childhood cancer and survivorship. With over 30 years of experience serving over 43,000 children, the NCCS is able to take a “no matter what” approach to help families stay strong, stay positive and stay together. The NCCS has been recognized as a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity and earned a GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency. For more information call 314-241-1600, visit theNCCS.org, or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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