2015 HEALTH AWARD
Casa de la Amistad para Niños con Cáncer
One of the most frightening phrases you can hear is: “Your child has cancer.” This is what Amalia García Moreno heard in 1982 when her son was diagnosed with leukemia, and it changed her life forever. As her family began to navigate the care system in Mexico, she soon realized that thousands of children diagnosed with cancer could not access life-saving care, especially children from low-income families. Determined to help, Amalia opened Casa de la Amistad para Niños con Cáncer (House of Friendship for Children with Cancer).
Casa de la Amistad provides a comfortable and safe home for underprivileged children that have cancer while they are receiving treatment. This warm and safe hostel is provided for the patient and a companion (usually a parent) and transportation and food are included for the duration of the patient’s stay. The foundation serves newborns to 18-year-olds who are in need of treatment at an oncology center in one of the 29 hospitals Casa de la Amistad works with throughout Mexico.
Soon after opening Casa de la Amistad, Amalia felt the need to provide cancer-fighting medication for children of low-income families unable to fund the high cost of these life-saving drugs. She established a network of dispensaries – Medicine Banks – where drugs are available to these children free of charge.
The Foundation also provides Emotional Support Classes that create a network of support and assistance for families within and outside the home. The intent of the classes is to encourage the expression of emotions between children, youth and adults as the patient, family and friends help one another through this trying time. Furthermore, the Foundation also offers Education Support Programs were the patient and their companion can start, continue or conclude their primary and secondary education. Finally, Creative Workshops are conducted to provide occupational activities for the patient and their companion. The creative workshops are taught in the hostel.
In the last 25 years, Casa de la Amistad has drastically changed the face of childhood cancer in Mexico, having served over 8,000 children. Amalia will use World of Children funding to help even more children receive the high quality care they so immediately need. She will ensure that Casa de la Amistad continues not only saving lives, but keeping families whole.