Friday, March 19, 2010

Helping Teens With Cancer

The way we choose our friends usually happens randomly. They are neighbors or our kids go to school together, or there is some common connection that binds us. That is how we met the DiNatales, a family who faced tragedy, and then found the strength to make life better for others who share their pain. Today, teenagers with cancer and other serious illnesses can still enjoy things that healthy teens experience, thanks to Alicia DiNatale, a 17 year old who tragically passed away in 2002.

While Alicia was spending long stretches in the hospital for cancer treatment, she realized that there was very little for people her age to do to pass their time. More than 50 hospitals nationwide are now equipped with Teen Centers, created by the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation (ARVF), to carry out Alicia’s legacy.

When Alicia was in the hospital, she noticed that there was a place for little kids to watch TV or color, with tiny chairs and cartoon character decorations. Yet, there was no place for teens who often spent countless hours and days alone in their hospital rooms. She wished there was a space for teens to go to use the internet, watch movies, and just hang out with friends. “Alicia just wanted to live, have fun, create and make a difference,” explains her mother, Gisele, Co-Founder and Executive Director of ARVF.

After Alicia died, her parents fulfilled that wish for others. The Foundation’s mission was to create such a place in hospitals throughout the country. The space is equipped with computers, movies, video games and a place to socialize with other teens. With the help of hospital staff, many young patients can take part in pizza parties, movie nights and other events. Here, teens are able to find relief from the stress of their treatment while spending time with friends and family members in a comfortable environment.

For more information of ARVF visit

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