Choices - Mikey's graduation
Michael Friedman at his high school graduation

Michael Friedman peppered his High School Commencement speech with golden nuggets of wisdom. He told his fellow graduates that it was their generation’s turn to make a difference in the world. He shared his perspective about choices, describing how experiences dictate decisions. And that an arsenal of experiences drives the choices we make.

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Manage Childhood Cancer Stress

Manage Childhood Cancer Stress
Photo by Gift Habeshaw on unsplash

The moment the doctor utters the words, “Your child has cancer” your world is turned upside down. And what follows after the initial shock is stress. It can be extremely stressful for both you and your child as you try to comprehend the disease, the medical jargon and what lies ahead. But, it’s important to recognize that this stress is a normal reaction to the situation. As a matter of fact, there are ways to help manage childhood cancer stress. 

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Child Life Month and Social Work Month

Child Life Month and Social Work Month

As March arrives with the promise of warmer days and hope for the end of winter, it’s the ideal month to honor some very special healthcare professionals.  March is both Child Life Month and Social Work Month, a time to recognize the amazing contributions these two professions make to the pediatric healthcare environment. Their presence and the programs they provide are essential during a child’s medical journey.

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Staying Connected During Treatment

Staying connected during treatment
Staying connected during treatment by using tablets and laptops can go a long way in helping to fight feelings of isolation.

Isolation – it’s one of the first challenges a child may face after receiving a cancer diagnosis. Not being able to attend school, see friends or take part in other normal activities can be very isolating. Long hospital stays or hours spent receiving treatment can take their toll adding to the feelings of isolation. But staying connected during treatment is critical.

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Share a little love on Valentine’s Day

Share a little love on Valentine’s Day
Photo by Element5Digital on Unsplash 

Heart shaped boxes of chocolates, fancy dinners, red roses, and greeting cards are synonymous with Valentine’s Day. And while the holiday certainly revolves around these for many of us, it can be a tough time to be alone in the hospital, especially for kids. That’s why it’s so important to share a little love on Valentine’s Day with a pediatric cancer patient.

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Mikey’s Way Gifts Bring Relief

Wish List gifts bring relief

Mikey Friedman founded Mikey’s Way to help pediatric cancer patients cope with what he felt was, “perhaps the most difficult burden: the psychological challenges of cancer treatment.”  Not only do Mikey’s Way gifts bring relief but they also provide a pathway out of the boredom and isolation that occurs with treatment.

The Wish List program is an integral part of Mikey’s vision. These Mikey’s Way gifts bring relief because they provide a lifeline to the outside world. In fact they can provide a connection to the children’s friends, family, and classmates. In addition they help combat the long hours of treatment, the intense loneliness and sense of isolation.

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Kids with Cancer Need Some Normalcy

Kids with cancer need some normalcy
Photo by Halacious on Unsplash

When a child receives a cancer diagnosis, pieces of their childhood slip away as treatment becomes the top priority. And while friends and classmates are busy with sleepovers, baseball games, and playing with neighborhood kids, the child with cancer is busy with doctor appointments, medical tests and scary procedures. But, kids with cancer need some normalcy in a new world that is anything but normal.

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Childhood Cancer Awareness 2021

Childhood Cancer Awareness 2021 statistic
Source: Coalition Against Childhood Cancer

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month 2021 – a time to raise awareness of pediatric cancers and to recognize the children and families affected by childhood cancers. It’s also a time to emphasize the importance of supporting research on these devastating conditions.

The color gold symbolizes Childhood Cancer Awareness Month 2021. In fact the color was chosen to reflect how precious children are and the resilience of childhood cancer heroes. In light of this, join Mikey’s Way and turn the world gold in recognition of childhood cancer!  

Cancer By the Numbers

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Distraction can help kids cope with cancer

Distractions can help kids cope with cancer
Distractions such as gaming systems, laptops and tablets like the ones Mikey’s Way distributes, can help kids cope with cancer.

Kids with cancer face many painful and scary procedures that can be both traumatic and stressful. They endure long hours of isolating and lonely treatments. And, they face hours of what Mikey Friedman referred to as “toxic boredom.” But what Mikey came to understand first hand is that distraction can help kids cope with cancer treatment.

Mikey believed that there was an immediate and pressing importance to help cancer patients cope with the mental stress of cancer treatment. “We’ve seen that distraction and psychological intervention can aid in nausea.  But there is much more.” he wrote. He believed that distraction could also help kids cope with cancer treatment.  His own personal experience led him to believe that others could benefit from the use of distraction activities such as the gaming system he had.

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Savoring Every Moment

Mikey savoring every moment with his Dad

Mikey lived his life savoring every moment.  He knew the importance of each time interval. And as the clock ticked, he savored each moment. He appreciated his time on this earth; with relish, compassion and purpose.  His work to create Mikey’s Way Foundation is a testament to who he was and how he chose to live his life and use his time.

In one of his many journal entries, “A Moment in a Two-Month”, Mikey expressed the importance of savoring every moment.  

Time is Relative to the Observer

“Time is relative to the observer. Humans conspired together to invent the second as a means of measuring time intervals. Everyone lives by the second. It dictates the hour, days, weeks, months, and years. And the calendar keeps our engagements to the second in order. But time is relative to the observer. I am not bound to the second. Rather, I measure them in two-month intervals. When you think about it, both measurements are equally arbitrary; both are equally indifferent to the intrinsic behavior of existences. Only here’s the difference: my time interval is important; your second is meaningless.”

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