Pediatric Cancer Financial Toxicity

Pediatric Cancer patient with IV poleFinancial Toxicity of a Pediatric Cancer Diagnosis

by Les Friedman, Mikey’s dad

Treating pediatric cancer is expensive. Rising medical costs wreak havoc on a family’s finances and, in time, become yet another toxic side effect of cancer treatment.

Medical bills quickly fill our mailboxes as costs mount for hospital stays, clinic visits, medicines, tests and surgeries. In addition, unexpected costs for procedures or treatments for infections, dehydration or pain can add to rising costs.

Additional Financial Challenges

As medical bills climb, you may face another financial hit if you leave work to take care of your child. And, depending upon your child’s medical situation, their immune system may be compromised. This means that they can’t go to daycare or school, leaving you scrambling for childcare. Your bill pile may continue to grow due to other treatment-related expenses like gas, hotels, meals and childcare for siblings. It’s also important to remember that long after the completion of treatment, medical-related costs continue. Most patients have on-going follow-up visits at least once a year. Many pediatric cancer patients will have chronic conditions resulting from their treatments. These conditions will also require ongoing treatment.

To sum it all up, at a time when you need to focus on the care of your sick child, you are faced with crippling medical bills. Although this may be true for you, there is good news. Financial help may be closer than you think to help lessen the financial blow. read more →

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Join Mikey’s Way Foundation as we observe National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!

National Childhood Cancer Awareness month banner


Every year in the United States, over 15,000 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with childhood cancer. The average age at diagnosis is 6 years old. Approximately one-quarter of those diagnosed will not survive the disease.

Childhood Cancer Awareness
At Mikey’s Way, we see every day as an opportunity to raise awareness about childhood cancer, but September is an especially unique month because it’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. During this month families, researchers, advocates, communities and charities unite to raise awareness about this disease. The objective is to highlight the types of cancer that largely affect children and equally important to help raise funds for research.

You Can Become Involved
There is good news because – you can become involved, too! Join together with Mikey’s Way and help turn the world gold in honor of childhood cancer awareness! With this in mind, here are 7 great things that you can do.

  1. Attend CureFest 2018 at the National Mall in Washington, DC on September 15 and 16. Since 2011, thousands of people from over 44 states have come together at the annual CureFest event to unite as one voice against childhood cancer. CureFest is family-friendly and includes a rally, candlelight vigil, a walk, games, activities and live entertainment. In fact, we have a Mikey’s Way tent at CureFest. Be sure to stop by and say hello!
  2. Follow Mikey’s Way on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  3. Read our blog! The blog has inspirational stories, childhood cancer information, parent tips and updates from Mikey’s Way.
  4. Wear your support for Childhood Cancer awareness! Purchase a Mikey’s Way inspirational bracelet!
  5. Follow Mikey’s legacy of helping kids cope with cancer by donating to Mikey’s Way Foundation.
  6. To demonstrate your support, join the gold movement. For example, people across the country wear gold ribbons to symbolize Childhood Cancer Awareness month.
  7. Stay in touch! Sign up for our emails. You’ll receive updates on how to help kids cope with cancer…Mikey’s Way!

How to Cope When Your Child is Diagnosed with Cancer

Suggestions for ways to cope and stay strong

By Les Friedman, Mikey’s dad

When Your Child is Diagnosed With Cancer
When your child is diagnosed with cancer, it has a stressful and inescapable impact on the entire family system. Every family member, including parents and healthy siblings, feel the profound effect of this diagnosis. Trying to cope when your child has cancer as individuals and as a family can be

Parenting a child with a life-threatening illness such as cancer poses significant challenges as you struggle to maintain your child’s rigorous treatment schedule while concurrently balancing everyday activities and responsibilities. Raising healthy siblings simultaneously can add another layer of complexity.

As you face this incredibly stressful and emotional time, your priority should be to find the best medical options for your child and to obtain the right support for your family. Your trajectory of parenting will shift to illness management and your child’s response to the treatment regime. Your patience, strength and perseverance will be called upon again and again in response to illness exacerbation, relapse, remission and recovery.

Tips to Help Parents Cope
As parents we are accustomed to managing our families on our own, but when a child has cancer, it’s important to reach out for help. By enlisting and accepting help, you will have more time and energy for your ill child.

 read more →

Paul Garavel Receives Beacon of Hope Award

Paul Garavel is a Shining Example of Community Service!

Les Friedman presents Paul Garavel with the Beacon of Hope award.

Paul Garavel of Garavel Subaru received the inaugural Beacon of Hope award for his years of heartfelt community service and commitment to the children of Mikey’s Way. Les Friedman, CEO of Mikey’s Way presented Paul Garavel with the award at the Beacon of Hope event on July 20, 2018.

“Paul Garavel exemplifies the true meaning of giving. He is a man that gives generously, without ever asking the question “What’s in it for me?”, states Les Friedman, ” Paul went on one Mikey’s Way Day at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital (Smilow) and immediately wanted to know how he could help, and he has never looked back from there.  He helped us raise the money needed to put an i-Pad in every room of the pediatric in-patient hematology/oncology floor of the hospital. We are blessed to have him in our lives.”

Paul Garavel has always shared the success of his dealerships with the surrounding communities. He subscribes to Subaru America’s commitment to community service with major contributions from his dealerships and is actively involved with several local charities. In addition to the “Share the Love” campaign that takes place each November, Garavel Subaru sponsors events and supports many charities year-round, including Mikey’s Way.

We are proud to be a part of Garavel’s Commitment to Community.



Coping With Cancer Emotionally

Coping With a Cancer Diagnosis

Coping with emotions when you or a loved one has cancer can be difficult. Every person’s situation and needs are different which makes the emotional challenges and the cancer journey an individual one. However, identifying and addressing feelings and emotions can help lower stress which in turn can foster improved mental and physical health.

Recognize your Emotions

According to the American Cancer Society, an important part of coping with a cancer diagnosis is recognizing emotions and feelings. Mikey knew this all too well which is documented in his very first journal entry chronicling his personal cancer journey.  In this entry Mikey describes how he dealt with his emotions:

I’m frequently asked, “How do you feel?”, and my first impulse is to reply, “Fine I guess for cancer.” However, I don’t think people can see the humor in such a serious situation.  But, my approach has been to laugh. People say laughter is the best medicine. I disagree. Sure, laughter feels good and can brighten one’s mood, but I think I’ll stick with chemo for healing purposes. The way I look at it is a good attitude will make getting through such a difficult time much easier. The first reaction that most do have when dealt such a hard hand is to question. Why me? What did I say or do to deserve this? Who did I insult? Was it God? Has God willed this? I take back everything I ever did, just tell me why. I think I skipped that phase. I didn’t ask why for three very good reasons. First, it doesn’t matter why; it has happened and must be solved. Second, if I could answer the question why I got cancer, I wouldn’t be writing, I’d have someone writing for me as I sit on my own tropical island surrounded by gorgeous women. Third, and most sufficient, is the fact that it is a stupid question.  Why? Things happen that we can’t explain. Cards are dealt and you have to play the hand. Sounds like it’s tough luck but consider the alternative, folding in this game is not a smart move. I don’t like to dwell on the past. It is something I can’t change.  But the future is up for grabs. It’s anyone’s game, and a poker face won’t help.  read more →

Meet Talia: Paying it Forward Mikey’s Way

Talia is committed to helping other children

Mikey's Way Hero, Talia paying it forward

Mikey’s Way Hero, Talia

Talia’s inspiration to “pay it forward” stems from her own story, which began in 2014 when she was just 11. A happy young girl with a passion for travel, Talia especially loved visiting with cousins and her Grandparents in Florida. She worked hard in school but also found time for Girl Scouts and field hockey. Her most favorite thing in all the world was going to sleep-away camp which was only a few short months away. But in the spring her life changed. Talia learned that she had a brain tumor.

Soon after her diagnosis, Talia bravely underwent surgery to remove the tumor at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York. Talia’s surgery left her unable to walk without the aid of a walker. Determined to go to sleep-away camp, Talia worked diligently to walk without help as soon after surgery as possible. The hours recovering in the hospital were long and lonely until one wonderful day when Talia received an iPad from Mikey’s Way. The iPad provided much needed diversion and distraction for Talia not only while in the hospital but also as she continued to heal at home.

 read more →

Love Your Melon Supports Mikey’s Way!

Mikey’s Way Featured in Love Your Melon Blog Post


Love Your Melon Mikey's Way recipient

Love Your Melon is an apparel brand dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer in America as well as supporting nonprofit organizations who lead the fight against pediatric cancer. In 2017, Mikey’s Way became a Love Your Melon partner. They recently featured Mikey’s Way in their Partner Highlight blog. Here’s a look at what they had to say:

“When a child is in the hospital, fun gifts and positive experiences can provide encouragement as well as an escape from the difficulties of treatment. We are proud to partner with organizations that provide these children with positive experiences, like Mikey’s Way Foundation!”



The Benefit Of A Mikey’s Way Gift

Thoughts From a Child Life Specialist

Mikey's Way CartAs the child life specialist for the past 4 years in outpatient oncology, bone marrow transplant and hematology, I have worked with children who clearly benefit from the generosity of Mikey’s Way.  Mikey’s Way has helped kids keep up with school work by providing a laptop, has helped kids isolated because of treatment connect with their friends socially and virtually while hospitalized.  I have witnessed kids swept up by videos and imagine going to far away places they’d like to visit once treatment is over.  Children have used these electronics to play games to help distract them through procedures, to watch streaming movies, to write their journals.  It has been wonderful to talk about the program with a patient and give them the choice of gift to help them through treatment.  Mikey’s Way has made many patients smile, parents astonished at the generosity, and me as a staff member grateful for all of your help.

Sonia Lugo, MS, CCLS, CEIM
Child and Adolescent Oncology and Hematology Center
NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Laptop Helps Noah Stay Connected

Noah with his laptop

Noah LOVES his laptop!

Noah selected a laptop as his Wish List gift.  Here’s what he shared with his mom about his gift:

“Noah said that he was excited to be able to stay connected to his friends at school with Google Hangout. He also figured out how to play Fortnight, a popular game that he plays with his friends.” Noah’s Mom

Click here to learn more about Mikey’s Way and the kids we help.

Just Goggle It – the internet is it friend or foe?

The internet – our best friend or worst enemy?



by Les Friedman, Mikey’s dad

“Just Google it!” It’s part of our everyday language but the truth is, the internet can be our best friend or our worst enemy particularly when it comes to medical information.

Pediatric cancer is like a finger print – every cancer is different and every child reacts differently to treatment. What you read on the internet may be totally wrong for your child’s situation.

First of all, don’t believe everything that you read online. While there is a significant amount of health-related information on the internet, the accuracy of the information is erratic. So many facts can be wrong on the internet that you can get lost in the wrong. A lot of information is outdated, rife with inaccuracies or not applicable. Acting on inaccurate, outdated or irrelevant information can prove hazardous to our well-being, potentially posing a significant detrimental impact on our health.

While the accuracy of medical information obtained via the internet is often in question, as long as you stick to reliable websites, the possibility of finding expired or false information will be considerably less. Turn to reliable sites such as those of government agencies like the National Institute on Health or  Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention, well-known academic medical institutions such as Yale, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, University of California or reputable organizations like  Coalition Against Childhood Cancer or the American Cancer Society.

My advice?  Stay off the internet for medical information unless it’s from a reliable source but definitely jump on the internet to find support – search for local support groups, parent blogs, parent resources such as CancerCare and The Truth 365 or online resources at the hospital where your child is being treated. CaringBridge is a very strong and reliable personal website which has all the tools you need to keep your family and friends updated during a difficult time.