Giving back to the Teens

As most of you know AJ’s Angels was founded after the loss of our son AJ to pediatric cancer. We have since teamed up with St.Luke’s to help aid in research but also give support to the families going through a real-life hell we know too well.

Last year we saw the completion of our last initiative which was the MSTI Pediatric Outdoor play area. Since that was complete we talked to St.Luke’s about other upcoming initiatives that we could pour our resources into. When we heard about the “Mind, Body, Spirit” program for AYA patients, we felt moved. AJ would’ve been about the age of some of these kids who are going through transitions.

It’s hard enough for parents and children to go into the teenage years, but children who are in treatment or survivors of cancer have even more stacked against them. That’s why the St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute of Pediatric Oncology created this program for adolescents and young adults.

Did You Know? 70,000 young people (between the ages of 15 – 39) are diagnosed with cancer every year in the U.S. It’s the #1 cause of disease-related death in this age group. Since 1975, survival rates for adolescents and young adults have shown little to no improvement.

In short the “Mind, Spirit and Body” program aims to aid in the psychosocial support delivered through a patient navigator dedicated to the Adolescent and Young Adult pediatric cancer population to meet their unique needs and support them through their life transitions.

Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) deal with a lot of changes. It could be getting through high school, moving across the country to go to college, starting a new job or even having children. Imagine adding a cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately it happens. At St. Luke’s MSTI Pediatrics, we want to successfully implement a program that focuses on the AYA population, typically at our clinic ages 15 to early 20s, with a program we are calling “Mind, Spirit and Body” to help meet their unique needs and improve the chance of long-term survival and experience a normal life.

We feel that families and children going through this transition need all the support they can get. We are excited to be starting a new journey with St.Luke’s and hope that our involvement give some families the support they are needing.