Children’s Cancer Association teams up with the State of Oregon to increase public awareness of kids living with cancer through COVID-19
PORTLAND – Beginning today, Oregonians statewide will see a new round of “Wear a Mask” public service announcements—this time, starring the masked-up faces of young patients and families served by Children’s Cancer Association.
“September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and we are all-too-aware of the vulnerability of this population,” commented Governor Kate Brown. “We are impressed and grateful that these seriously ill children and teens, as well as their families, took the time to participate, reinforcing the importance of wearing a mask in our state.”
Out of all the worthy nonprofits who cater to immune-compromised Oregonians, the Governor’s advisor, Thomas Wheatley, knew CCA would be up to the task. In 2014, he became a member of the CCA community when his son was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia).
“I know firsthand what it’s like to have a child with a compromised immune system. And CCA was there for our son and our family every step of the way,” said Thomas. “When we were staying overnight at the hospital, CCA’s musicians brought some levity to very tough days. One of the first times we went to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, we were greeted by this amazing woman in a purple t-shirt with a bag of books and toys. She was our son’s Chemo Pal mentor, and she stuck with us for the entire three years of doctor’s visits.
“CCA knows the power of small actions: how little things can make a big difference. Wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is easy, effective, and can save a life.”
This campaign would not have been possible without the support of our amazing community. Five CCA-served families graciously welcomed us onto their front porches and backyards, where our masked-up team filmed and photographed them from a safe social distance.
We were joined on these visits by CCA volunteer, Jeff Selis, who has 27 years of experience at advertising giant Wieden + Kennedy and generously volunteered his photography and videography skills pro-bono.
“Though I’ve worked on award-winning campaigns, the most important work I’ve done at Wieden + Kennedy were pro bono projects for the American Indian College Fund. So when I was approached by CCA, my heart wouldn’t let me say no,” said Jeff. “It’s difficult to gain trust from behind a camera while wearing a mask, but my own fear and insecurity was no match for each family’s courage and willingness to participate. I left every shoot a better person than the one who arrived.”
Of course, this wouldn’t be a CCA campaign without some Joy delivery. So in true CCA fashion, we seized the opportunity to deliver in-person music medicine—something we haven’t been able to provide to our families since March, when our programs went fully virtual in keeping with federal and local health and safety guidelines.
Watching the kids and their families sing, dance, and even strum along with our trained musicians was truly the highlight of each visit, and we look forward to finding new ways to deliver the healing power of Joy during this time of social distance.
The children featured here represent the more than 5,000 kids in Oregon facing cancer and other serious illness, who are at increased risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. But you can help keep them safe by doing one simple task: wear a mask.
“Our team at CCA has worked with families for the last 25 years to bring Joy-based programming to young patients across our state,” said Danielle York, President and General Manager at CCA. “We see the sacrifices that they, and their families, make every day to stay healthy and we’re asking that Oregonians step up as well by wearing a mask to keep our community safe.”