Supporting Families Dealing with Illness


Last year, the Family Service Club had the pleasure of working with the Bumblebee Foundation, a wonderful organization that supports local families who are dealing with pediatric cancer. We put together Easter baskets for four of these families, and it was inspiring watching donations roll in.


Since then, I’ve grown to respect the organization even more as I’ve gotten to know Heather Donatini, the founder. She lost her son to cancer, and, with inexplicable strength, she has started an organization that touches and serves many. I’ve also gotten to know Katie Wolfe, the amazing mommy of Dylan, a three-year old with brain cancer. She fights tirelessly for her sweet son, and she is also an incredible inspiration. Motivated by these two women, I’ve been wanting to do something big to support the Bumblebee Foundation this year.

Fortunately, during our Feeding the Homeless project, I met Karin. Karin Burnes is the owner of a super-fun company called Enrichment Planet. When we got to talking, she immediately volunteered to donate her services (along with her well-known Tumblebees activities buses) to put on a family fun day. Since then, we’ve secured an awesome venue, snack donations, reptiles for kids to see and touch, as well as other entertainment. And, while co-hosting something like this is pretty intimidating, nerves are nothing compared to cancer. As a mom, I want to do anything I can to serve those who have to do the worst thing imaginable: watch their children suffer. If you are local, please join us at the Bumblebee Playdate 2016. 100% of the proceeds go directly to the Bumblebee Foundation. You can also help out by volunteering with your family or donating snacks. See this Signup Link for details. We can all make a difference!13010779_1192455140778477_8834494007496516264_n

If you are interested in helping those suffering from illness in your community, start here:

1. Contact your local hospital: Call the hospital in your community and ask them if they know of any local charities that support those dealing with cancer or other illnesses. If so, give them a call and follow the steps below. If there aren’t any charitable organizations in your area, ask the hospital if they will allow you to bring gifts to families at the hospital who are dealing with difficult illnesses.

2. Ask what you can do: Once you’ve gotten in touch with an organization or hospital, ask them what they need, and get creative! Bring gifts, make cards, attend fundraisers. Even little kids can help encourage those suffering.

3. (Optional): Share your experience: post pictures and ideas on our Facebook page, or share a “success story” with us on the blog. The more we talk about service, the more other people want to be a part of the fun.



It can be difficult to talk to our kids about the fact that others are dealing with illnesses, but I believe that it is important for them to be aware of what is going on in the world so they can develop compassion. Here are a few resources that might be helpful. If you know of any others, please share them!


1. Franklin Goes to the Hospital: This sweet book is about a turtle who has to go to the hospital to get his broken shell fixed. It is geared toward younger readers, and it deals with the theme of courage.

2. Harry Goes to the Hospital: Written by a doctor, this book deals with a young boy who is staying in the hospital. Harry doesn’t like dealing with all of the tests and other challenges, but he feels loved and supported.


1. #Rallyon for Kids with Childhood Cancer: this music video shows kids who have cancer playing and experiencing hope. This is a good one to show kids to start talking with them about the issue. Please watch and share: every view earns $1 towards cancer research.

I personally haven’t known the agony of watching one of my children go through cancer, but I have respect and compassion towards anyone who has. Let’s work together to make families dealing with cancer feel acknowledged, loved, and supported. If you have any thoughts on this post, or if you have other ideas about how we can show love, please let us know. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own.  Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.

About Kellie Van Atta

Kellie Van Atta is a wife, a mom of two, and a teacher of English. She lives in Southern California and is passionately dedicated to teaching her kids to love others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>