Programs For Children Being Treated For Cancer

For further details and guidelines regarding any of the following services, please get in touch with our Director of Programs and Family Services, Sharin Nelson, at


Art therapy is used to help patients or their families increase awareness of self, cope with symptoms, and adapt to stressful and traumatic experiences. The objectives of art therapy are to use the creative process to allow awareness and expression of an individual’s deepest emotions. For people with cancer, these emotions may be about the illness, hospitalization, relationships, or other concerns. The meaning and the power of these emotions often are not easily articulated using verbal communication.

Music therapy is often used in cancer treatment to help reduce pain, anxiety, and nausea caused by chemotherapy. Some people believe music therapy may be a beneficial addition to the health care of children with cancer by promoting social interaction and cooperation.

To schedule a session with a licensed art therapist or a license music therapist, please contact Sharin Nelson at or 813-367-5437 ext. 2.


The Big Buddy Mentoring Program pairs first-year medical students from the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine with siblings of patients for a one-on-one mentoring relationship. The pairs of buddies get together monthly for fun outings of their choice with the intent of fostering compassion in future doctors for the family as whole, in addition to the child who is sick.

When a child is diagnosed with cancer or a chronic blood disorder, the parents understandably focus much of their energy on that child. The siblings may feel left out or that they are not getting as much attention as they did before. The Big Buddy program provides that one-on-one time with a caring adult who is there to be a friend, confidant, and mentor for the sibling of the child who is diagnosed.

Big Buddies often carry their relationship with the Little Buddies for many years throughout their schooling, which provides stability in the life of that child and helps with consistency in an all too hectic life.

For questions or further information, contact Kelly Carpenter at or 813-367-5437 ext. 3.


CCC hosts several completely free camps for families throughout the year.

1:  Kite Camp

Summer marks the arrival of week-long day camps which are called Kite Camp.  One week welcomes oncology (cancer) patients currently on treatment, along with their siblings, while a second week serves children being treated for all types of blood disorders. Campers must have completed kindergarten (6 years old) and be no older than 12 years old to participate. Both camps include a full schedule of educational and recreational activities, daily field trips, and a chance for children to be with other children who are experiencing similar circumstances.

Thank you Suncoast Credit Union for being a sponsor and contributing toward Camp!

2: F.L.I.G.H.T. Camp

Held once a year, F.L.I.G.H.T. Camp (Families Laughing in Groups Hoping Together) is a weekend camp that serves families who currently have a child on treatment for pediatric cancer. Families stay for the weekend and gather support from each other in a nature camp style environment.

To inquire about the camps we offer, please contact Sharin Nelson at or 813-367-5437 ext. 2.


When a child is diagnosed with cancer or a chronic blood disorder, the entire family is understandably affected in many ways, including emotionally. In an effort to provide therapeutic relief for these families, CCC partners with Life Connections Counseling Center and Sheltering Oaks Counseling Center to provide counseling free of charge. Families are referred for counseling on an as-needed basis for help and support dealing with issues relating to their child’s diagnosis, treatment, survivorship.

To schedule a session with a licensed therapist, please contact Sharin Nelson at or 813-367-5437 ext. 2.


CCC hosts different Family Connection Nights to serve the many needs of the families.

Oncology Group usually meets bi-monthly and is for families who have a child who is actively on treatment for cancer.

Dinner is provided, giving families a chance to mingle and catch up in a casual, informal setting. The parents are then provided an open forum for discussion to gain resources, support, and an understanding that they are not alone on their journeys. The children are supervised by trained volunteers and provided with art, music, sports, games, and many other activities to entertain them and help them make memories together. To inquire about our Oncology Family Connection Night program, please reach out to Sharin Nelson at or 813-367-5437 ext.2.


Various Family Fun Days are held throughout the year. These events are for all families referred to CCC and are a chance for families to have fun and enjoy themselves away from the medical environment. Some of our Family Fun Events have been Back to School Bash, Fall Festival, Winter Holiday Party, Spring Carnival, and Parents Night Out. CCC also recognizes the needs of both moms and dads and works to host special events especially for each of them.

To inquire about getting involved in upcoming Family Fun Days, please contact Sharin Nelson at or 813-367-5437, ext. 2.


Financial hardship is an all too common result that occurs when a child is diagnosed with cancer or a chronic blood disorder. Families often struggle to take time off of work to get to their child’s medical appointments, or stay in the hospital with them when they receive their treatments or are admitted. CCC recognizes this need and makes every effort to provide financial assistance when funds are available.

1: Fueling Families

Families are referred from the social worker at their hospital to determine if they meet the requirements for assistance. With the help from the community and generous donations, gift cards for groceries or gas are provided to families to lighten the load and ensure that they have food available and transportation to get to these critical appointments.

2: White Hat Fund

Thanks to the generous partnership with the Davis Ferguson Memorial Fund, CCC has created the White Hat Fund in memory of Davis Ferguson, a child who unfortunately lost his battle to cancer. Families that have a child diagnosed with cancer and are in dire financial hardship as a result of their child’s diagnosis can apply for this financial assistance program through the social worker at their hospital. The funding is specified for assisting with the essential needs of these families (for example, electric, rent/mortgage, or car payment) and is limited, so there are criteria to qualify for this assistance. We are very excited to be able to offer this assistance to the families that qualify and are proud to do it in Davis Ferguson’s name. For more information on the types of programs we offer, please contact Sharin Nelson at or 813-367-5437 ext. 2.

S.A.I.L. (Students Achieving through Interactive Learning)

Is your child interested in learning how to play an instrument? Or how to paint in a style reminiscent of Picasso? What about how to cook quick, cost effective, nutritional food? Does your child need help with his or her homework or school projects? Then we have just the program for you!

Thanks to our generous sponsor, Panera, CCC offers a free, interactive tutoring program for children diagnosed with cancer or chronic blood diseases and their siblings. The program is offered weekly on the weekends and provides one-on-one tutoring, as well as educational activities provided by experts in the community.

Due to the educational objective of this program, S.A.I.L. is offered to CCC children Pre-K to 12th grade who are both potty trained and verbal. For further information, contact Kelly Carpenter at or 813-367-5437 ext. 3.


Through the Love Bundles program, newly diagnosed cancer patients and their families are introduced to the programs and services offered at CCC. Designed to help alleviate some of the initial anxiety after diagnosis, the Love Bundles are filled with toys, games, comfort items, and information about CCC. Each Love Bundle is created individually for each child and is delivered to his or her clinic. For more information on how you can make a donation to help fill the Love Bundles, please contact Sharin Nelson at or 813-367-5437 ext. 2.



The CCC, with the support of the Panera Bread and the Knead for Knowledge Scholarship Program, sponsors advanced education scholarships for Florida students who (1) have had a diagnosis of cancer or chronic blood disorder in the Tampa Bay area before the age of 21, or (2) have lost a sibling due to a diagnosis of cancer or a chronic blood disorder. Scholarships are for undergraduate degrees from an accredited university, college, community college, vocational technical school, or other approved program.

All applications must be postmarked no later than April 2nd, 2018.

Recipients will be chosen by a Children’s Cancer Center Scholarship Committee and announced in May.

First Time Application

Application to Reapply

Application for Bereaved Sibling

For questions or further information, contact Kelly Carpenter at or 813-367-5437, ext.3.


Teen Group is a fun and engaging program that brings teenagers (13-19 yrs. old) diagnosed with cancer and chronic blood diseases together monthly to participate in activities at CCC or to go on field trips to events such as plays, concerts, ghost tours, sporting events, and many more. The intent of teen group is for these teens to bond with other kids in similar situations and provide peer support, cultural experiences, and recreational opportunities. For further information, contact Kelly Carpenter at or 813-367-5437 ext. 3.


CCC receives ticket donations from various organizations and individuals for experiences such as sporting events, theatrical shows, and festivals. CCC distributes these tickets to families served by CCC in order to create memorable moments that are breaks from the daily challenges of having a child diagnosed with cancer or a chronic blood disorder. The tickets are issued on a first come, first served basis and are never used for fundraising purposes. Tickets are also distributed to the Big Buddy Mentoring Program and Teen Group to provide additional activities in the community and help alleviate the cost of their monthly outings.

To inquire about getting involved in the Ticket Bank program, please contact Sharin Nelson, at or 813-367-5437, ext. 2.