Jacob’s Heart exists to improve the
quality of life for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses
by supporting their families in the challenges they face. Since 1998, Jacob’s
Heart has provided emotional, practical, financial and peer support to
hundreds of local children with cancer and thousands of their family members.
We envision a community where every child with a serious or life-threatening
condition has a strong, supported and informed family empowered to fully
participate in their care. We strive to inspire compassionate action within
local communities, to create a safety net of support for the unique needs of
each child and family.
The Big Idea
The loss of a child is a unique and
horrific sorrow. Parents lack the time, resources and energy to attend to the
process of grieving while juggling the logistics of daily life and supporting
the needs of grieving family members, especially heartbroken siblings.
Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services has a new initiative, The
Forever Loved Grief Retreat, which is a place where bereaved families can
come together, communicate their needs, identify and express feelings and
gain practical coping skills with the support of peer mentors, trained
volunteers and emotional support therapy dogs. Activities including
bilingual, thematic support groups, ropes courses, nature walks, yoga, music
and drum circles, and expressive arts therapies, culminating in the You Are
Forever Loved Ceremony.
We lost our son Alex in July of last year
and attended our first Forever Loved just before the holidays that same year.
Facing the holidays after this type of loss is unbelievably hard. We felt
alone, isolated in our grief and trying to hold it together for Alex’s
younger brothers. Jacob’s Heart’s Forever Loved gave us time together as
family, time specifically focused on healing and connecting. We cried, but we
also laughed. We formed new connections, and came away with new traditions.
We will be attending again this year, and we are looking forward to the
luxury of dedicating this time together to heal as a family.
- Paul McCrone