Imagine if your 2-year-old had cancer. Not only would you be helping her fight the disease and the horrible effects of treatment, you would also have to protect her from infection. Chemotherapy suppresses the body's immune system, making patients extremely vulnerable to infections and diseases. For kids undergoing cancer treatment, this means no more playdates with other children -- and months, even years of painful isolation. This is the harsh reality for many children with cancer.
But Nancy Zuch could not accept that. She wanted more for her daughter Morgan, who was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 2. So she founded The Morgan Center, a preschool just for kids with cancer.
The Morgan Center in Hicksville, New York, provides a supportive and safe environment for young children undergoing cancer treatment. Kids have their own boxes of supplies and must sanitize their hands several times throughout the day. But it's also the only place (besides home) where they get to socialize and learn with other children their own age.
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"Before we found The Morgan Center the hospital was the only place where my son could go," says Donna Mezzapessa, whose 4-year-old son Joseph has a severely compromised immune system due to his cancer treatments.
Thanks to Nancy Zuch, over 150 children have attended The Morgan Center since 2003. That's 150 children who got to make friends and keep learning, even while they fought the most difficult battle of their young lives. It's a brilliant -- and beautiful -- idea. And what's most inspiring to me is that it wasn't enough to Nancy that her own child have a better life -- Nancy made this happen for other kids with cancer, too. She created a much-needed supportive community for families dealing with cancer. I think that's amazing.
Do you know any young children undergoing treatment for cancer? What other challenges do they face?
Image via CNN