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Originally Keaton Raphael Memorial, Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance is a local non-profit organization that was founded in memory of Keaton Raphael by his parents, who lost their son in 1998 to Neuroblastoma. Enduring this unimaginable tragedy opened their eyes to what families go through when a child is diagnosed with cancer.
Throughout Northern California, Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance provides thousands of children with cancer and their families with emotional, financial and educational support. Assigning each affected family to a Navigator, unique issues are identified and addressed, such as difficulty obtaining transportation to treatments, fixing broken appliances or other ways of removing stressors that make coping a little easier.
The current Executive Director, Reed Baumgarten, was feeling unfulfilled as a successful district sales manager and marketer for a pharmaceutical company, working in oncology. One day, he got a call from Keaton Raphael Memorial, asking if he’d want to work there. His passion for the organization and his desire to make a difference are palpable, and today, Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance fundraises, obtains grants and partners with 230 companies and individuals that provide in-kind donations to make the organization’s mission possible.
Baumgarten’s team works closely with Raley’s to bring access to good nutrition to children with cancer and their families who might be too overwhelmed to realize the profound impact healthy eating can have on their physical and mental wellbeing. This year, Raley’s is providing gift cards for groceries, snack bags for kids, nutrition education for parents, wellness tours at stores for families, grocery delivery for families living in the San Francisco Bay Area and a cooking demo at Raley’s headquarters.
Says Baumgarten, “There’s a great opportunity to educate these families about wellness. The majority of them are low income, as cancer does not discriminate. They often live in areas that are food deserts where access to good food is limited, and they often rely on fast food. While the child is in treatment, we educate parents on the importance of good nutrition and how to prepare healthy meals. The entire family benefits, not just the sick child.”
Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance also facilitates families in building a support network through peer-to-peer events. These events come in various forms, such as free days at Funderland, paint nights, financial education sessions, poker nights and more. Occurring throughout the year, families discover other families going through what they’re going through and it helps just to have each other to talk to besides their Navigator who is always there as long as the child is in treatment. Explains Baumgarten, “We stay with them as long as they need us and have never turned anyone away that has asked for help. One of our goals is that families come out even stronger than before the treatment. When our community works together, there are always better outcomes.”
Visit the Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance website to get involved or learn more.
Be sure to share your volunteer efforts on social media to inspire and encourage others to help! Use the hashtag #goodneverstops and tag @raleys on Instagram for a chance to have a $250 donation made to one of our food bank partners in your community, as well as win a $50 Raley’s gift card!
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