In honor of the back-to-school season, we are excited to spotlight our longtime partner, HopeCam! HopeCam's mission is to overcome the social isolation of children with cancer using laptops and webcams to connect the child with his or her school. Every time a child is diagnosed with cancer and isolated from friends, their mental health is at risk. HopeCam steps in to change that trajectory by virtually connecting kids with classmates, at no cost to schools or families. Because of your support, Love Your Melon has provided $45,000 in funding since 2020.
71% of HomeCam participants attend Title 1 schools and over 50% live in homes that cannot afford internet access. HopeCam provides each child with a tablet computer equipped with a webcam and internet access in the home if the child is without. They then work with the child's school to establish a regular connection that allows them to participate in classroom activities, and see and talk with their friends.
We’re honored to introduce you to HopeCam Hero, Lucas! In his words:
On August 26, 2019, I heard the words that no one ever wants to hear in their life, and no kid should ever have to hear: "You have cancer." Way before the COVID-19 pandemic, children with cancer were already familiar with terms like social distancing, quarantine, virtual school, and wearing masks. One of the most challenging aspects of having cancer is being unable to see friends, attend school, participate in sports, and live life like a normal kid.
Before my cancer diagnosis, I was active in playing lacrosse and hockey, spending time with friends, and traveling to visit family. Consequently, the experience of social isolation became one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with cancer for me. During this time, I came to realize that school encompassed more than just academic learning; it also involved forging bonds with friends, engaging with peers, and being a part of both the good and challenging days experienced by my classmates.
Hopecam played a crucial role in helping me maintain a sense of normalcy. By enhancing my school's virtual capabilities, Hopecam allowed me to attend classes from home, while en route to medical appointments, or even during chemotherapy treatments. Even on days when my energy was too low to sit through an entire school session, the voices of my teachers and classmates brightened my spirits.
HopeCam played an integral role in supporting Lucas every step of the way during his treatment, offering invaluable resources and cutting-edge technology no matter where he was. Whether he received treatment in Virginia or during his bone marrow transplant in Maryland, HopeCam ensured that Lucas remained linked to his school, friends, and family. The profound impact of their services throughout his treatment, combined with their exceptional dedication to enhancing the lives of children battling cancer, will forever hold a cherished place in Lucas's heart and in the hearts of his family.
Currently, Lucas is a rising senior in high school, where he plays varsity hockey and lacrosse. He is cancer-free and continues to not shy away from adversity!
To learn more about HopeCam and their programs, click here.