Financial worries, finding the perfect gift and planning family gatherings can all add stress to the holiday season. This can be even more challenging for patients undergoing cancer treatments, who might already be physically and mentally exhausted.
To alleviate some of that stress, the Bucket List Project Foundation partnered with the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Medical Center to adopt 28 patients and their families for the holidays.
“The holidays can add additional stress on families, both financially and emotionally, and our patients are already going through so much,” says Rose Oxford, social worker at Long Beach Medical Center and Wish Fulfillment Chair for the Bucket List Project Foundation. “We wanted to do everything in our power to help our patients have a joy-filled holiday with their families.”
Each patient was asked to create wish list for themselves and their immediate families. The wish lists were fulfilled through the support of generous donors. Then just before the holidays, the Bucket List Project Foundation organized a drive-through event outside the Todd Cancer Pavilion, where patients visited with their care team and picked up their gifts.
Jerleen Nodalo was one of the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute patients who benefited from this holiday program and expressed her excitement. “My family and I were so happy for the gifts. Everything on our list was given to us. We felt like Santa came early for all of us!”
The Bucket List Project Foundation is a non-profit organization that funds and operates a wish-fulfillment program for individuals 18 years and older with life-limiting illnesses and limited resources.
The Foundation’s inspiration and first Bucket List Project wish recipient, Kenny Kozikowski, was so touched when his Palliative Care Team at Long Beach Medical Center enabled him to experience his Bucket List dreams - a professional photo session and a VIP visit to the Ellen Show - that his final wish was for others to receive the same opportunity. Since Kenny's wish in 2011, dozens of unique wishes have been fulfilled.
"Our goal is to bring joy by providing a memorable experience for these patients,” says Nilesh Vora, M.D., medical director of the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Medical Center and Medical Referrals Co-Chair for the Bucket List Project Foundation. “We’re so grateful to our board members and our community for continuing to help us reach our goals, throughout this holiday season and all year long.”