This year, Band Back Together is highlighting other sites around the Internet that are Doing Good. You know our beginnings. Now it’s time to see theirs.
I am so excited to introduce y'all to Monkey In My Chair. This organization was shared with us when our own Crystal's son Jack was diagnosed with leukemia a few weeks ago.
When I reached out to Monkey In My Chair, they were excited to share their mission with all of you, especially knowing that one of their Monkeys was being used by one of our own families.
I asked Crystal about their experience, and this is what she had to say: "The Monkey in my Chair program has allowed Jack to stay connected with his Kindergarten classmates. He is unable to attend school due to the risk for infection, so we dressed the monkey up in Jack's clothes and sent him off to class. The monkey sits at Jack's desk and the teacher works with the kids to fill the monkey's backpack with happy notes. Jack's smile when we bring home notes from his classmates is HUGE. This program has been his greatest joy during his treatments."
Crystal even shared an email from Jack's teacher, Mrs. O: "All the kids gave the monkey a hug for Jack this morning. We passed him around and everyone gave him a big squeeze. It was so sweet. They liked hearing the story but it made them all a bit sad for Jack. Milly, Kimberly & Dreigha are the monkey guards in class. They make sure the monkey is fine, take him to the library & wherever else we go. (The girls are tickled to be monkey guards.)"
Monkey guards? How adorable is that? I hate that there is a reason Jack has this Monkey friend, but I'm so proud to know there are people who care enough to do this for kiddos.
Welcome to The Band!
It started with just one child. It started with just one heart.
Originally started in 2007 in tribute to 6-year-old Elena Desserich and her fight against brain cancer, The Cure Starts Now Foundation has funded over $1,000,000 in research, awareness and programs in just 4 short years. Today, The Cure Starts Now Foundation (501c3 Federal Non-Profit) is one of the only cancer foundations dedicated to a “homerun” cure for all cancers, starting first with one of the most deadly and difficult cancers: pediatric brain cancer. Many experts believe that the lessons we learn from fighting pediatric cancer may in fact provide us the critical first step in winning the battle against all forms of cancer, both pediatric and adult.
The Cure Starts Now represents a revolutionary new strategy in cancer research; one that fights cancer not according to numbers but instead based on knowledge and research. And isn’t that the way we’ll ultimately win the battle?
The Cure Starts Now’s mission is one that knows no boundaries and stops at no borders. It is an international effort of families, friends, businesses and even strangers, united in the desire to cure cancer, one child at a time. And it all started with one child, but today the inspiration is carried with us all.
With 21 chapters around the country and one in Australia, its work and progress have been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, Inside Edition, Marketwatch, Yahoo.com, People Magazine and media worldwide.
Elena’s inspiration has also touched millions worldwide, cited as a top search term on Yahoo.com and as the subject of the New York Times Bestseller “Notes Left Behind”, which benefits the charity.
One of the revolutionary programs that The Cure Starts Now is funding is the Monkey in My Chair Program. Along with the diagnosis of a serious illness comes time away from school. Whether it is only a day here and there or maybe weeks or months at a time, this can be hard for the child and their classmates.
Monkey in My Chair is a program originally developed in honor of Chloe Watson Feyerherm for pre-school and elementary aged children who are away from school because of a cancer diagnosis. As a result of Chloe's experience, her mother, teachers and community got together to develop the Monkey in My Chair program through the efforts of their newly established charity, the Love, Chloe Foundation. In 2011, in an attempt to have the program complement cancer research efforts, the Love, Chloe Foundation partnered with The Cure Starts Now Foundation to offer the program to a wider audience, thus increasing both awareness and donations to not only support the program but also fund the cure for cancer.
Through the program, each child is provided with a "Monkey Kit", which includes a big stuffed monkey that takes their place in school when they are unable to be there. The kits include the monkey with a backpack, a book to help teachers explain to students the situation their classmate is facing and how it affects them, teacher companion guide, along with other items that can be utilized by the child and/or their classmates. All kits are sent out at no cost to the families or hospitals.
Above: Jack's monkey in his chair at school. The children have made him his 100 Days hat and Chinese New Year hat. They fill the backpack with notes and colored pages.
In addition to each "Monkey Kit," each child will be given online access to Monkey Message. Monkey Message is an online component that allows the sharing of pictures and documents to ensure the line of communication stays open between the patient and the classroom. Included in the Monkey Message portal are regular educational activities for the classroom and patients to do that help to foster interaction of students while incorporating key educational tools.
Above: Jack's Monkey delivered all his goodies from school, including the Chinese New Year hat they made for him.
The Cure Starts Now, Chiquita and Groupon teamed up in October 2011 to raise money and awareness for the Monkey in My Chair program. An original recipient of the nationwide Pepsi Refresh Grant, Monkey in My Chair reaches over 100 hospitals nationwide to help pediatric cancer patients stay connected to their classmates.
The Monkey in My Chair promotion was sent out to 40+ million people and set impressive goals. The campaign was supported by a generous matching donation of $25,000 by Chiquita Brands. In total, the campaign generated over $43,000 for Monkey in My Chair and over 830 monkeys will be branded with the Chiquita logo.
The program was an unprecedented release and one of the largest fundraising opportunities of its kind for a cancer charity.
To learn more about The Cure Starts Now Foundation and its mission visit www.thecurestartsnow.org
To learn more about Monkey in My Chair or to sponsor a Monkey Kit visit www.monkeyinmychair.org