Giving Back and Celebrating Life

The Department of Pediatrics Hematology/Oncology Division held their annual Patient/Family Holiday Celebration on Dec. 3 at the Brody School of Medicine. This year, more than 175 family members of children diagnosed with cancer, sickle cell disease, hemophilia and other chronic blood disorders attended the event. This occasion gives families of newly diagnosed patients the opportunity to meet and support each other and other families something to look forward to year after year.

This event would not be possible without the tremendous support of the ECU community, local organizations and volunteers. Many of the volunteers want to give back because they have been affected by cancer or some other chronic disorder.

All of the attendees enjoyed a pizza supper sponsored and served by volunteers from Riley’s Army. Riley’s Army is an organization aimed at providing support to children with cancer and their families in Eastern North Carolina.

A patient’s sibling shares her wish list

Volunteers with the ECU Child Life Student Association, advised by faculty advisor, Priti Desai, PhD. Nakeyshia Tucker who was also a pediatric Hematology/Oncology patient assisted attendees with Holiday crafts. ECU HOSA student volunteers assisted with turning the area into a festive winter wonderland for all to enjoy. New Genes provided a dance routine and musical entertainment during the event.

No holiday party would be complete without a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus! All the kids received gifts graciously donated by Beau’s Buddies. Beau’s Buddies Cancer Fund is a nonprofit organization that works to enrich the lives of those fighting cancer in Eastern North Carolina.

Marvin sits on Santa’s lap and shares his wish list

Pediatric cancer patients from Vidant’s Children’s Hospital were able to attend as well with the help of pediatric nurses and child life staff.

The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Patient/Family Holiday Celebration is a component of the division’s Rainbow Services program. Rainbow Services also sponsors Camp Rainbow and Camp Hope which are week long camp experiences for children diagnosed with cancer, hemophilia and sickle cell disease.

If you would like more information about how you or your community organization can sponsor Camp Rainbow/Camp Hope scholarships and other events to support children and their families, please contact Jacquelyn Sauls, program director at or (252) 744-4102.


Hope you enjoy this video from 2012 Camp Hope and Camp Rainbow.