Whether your child has a disability or has been diagnosed with a serious health condition, it can be difficult to know where to start looking for the services you need. Our resource guide is designed to help you find local, regional, and national foundations that offer financial assistance, support groups, family services, guidance on how to navigate the medical system, recreational activities, grief support, end-of-life care, and networking opportunities.
California State Programs
In Home Health Services is an option for you and your child if your child is disabled and an outpatient. They can assist with care at home, as well as supplemental income for caring for your child.
Cal Fresh isdependent on income limits, but there is a generous amount allotted for families, even if you have a steady income.
MediCal is a very generous program with high limits for insurance coverage. Even if you have an income, you may qualify for coverage.
CCS is a state-run program for children up to 21 years of age who have certain diseases or health conditions. They can connect you with doctors and other trained health professionals who specialize in special health care needs. They also assist with additional medical expenses, meals at the hospital, travel expenses, and more. You typically need to be referred by a social worker or medical team.
Depending on your financial situation, and whether you want to deal with Social Security, this is an option for additional funding. It’s a lengthy process, but worth it if you need help with finances. Make sure to keep all records and copies of documents you submit, as it can be arbitrary at times. Be patient with the process, as it takes a long time.
Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance strives to provide all possible support and resources for children affected by cancer and their families, including emotional, educational, and financial support. They serve families living in Northern California whose children are in treatment at one of the following hospitals: UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, Sutter Health Sacramento, Kaiser Permanente Roseville & Oakland, Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland & San Francisco.
“Wings Of Eagles” the Joseph Alvarez Organization provides emotional and financial assistance to families of children with pediatric cancer or serious life-threatening illnesses. They serve the North Valley, including the counties of Butte, Glenn, Sutter, Tehama, Yuba, and Colusa.
A national program that allows families the ability to rest, recharge, and enjoy home-cooked meals together while staying close to the medical center where your child is receiving care; you can stay as long as medically needed. Referrals are available through your social worker or doctor.
Temporary low-cost housing for families who must travel at least 35 miles away from home to seek treatment at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento or the Shriner’s Hospital. They have RV space available as well. Referrals must be made through UCD Medical Center social workers, emergency rooms, or doctor’s offices.
National Financial Assistance Foundations:
The B+ Foundation is the largest provider of financial assistance to families of kids with cancer in the U.S. They provide families with money for a variety of expenses associated with their children’s cancer diagnosis, including prescription medications, travel costs for treatments, mortgage & rent payments, and more.
Cancer Care provides comprehensive support for families and individuals with cancer, including resource navigations, counseling, support groups, educational workshops, publications, and financial and co-pay assistance. All services are provided by social workers and world-leading cancer experts.
Cerner Charitable Foundation (Formerly First Hand Foundation):
Cerner Charitable Foundation offers individual medical grants for children that can be used to cover a wide variety of healthcare costs, including clinical, equipment, travel, lodging, vehicle modification, and more. To qualify, children must be under the care of a physician and there must be no existing insurance coverage for the requested expenses.
Compass to Care assists with travel arrangements and expenses for families to access life-saving cancer treatments for their children, including airfare, gas, lodging, parking fees, and more. To qualify, children must be under 18, diagnosed with cancer, and in an active treatment regimen. Families must also demonstrate a financial need for the assistance. To apply, talk to your medical team or a social worker.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand offers many programs and resources to help families navigate the challenges of childhood cancer, including Travel for Care financial assistance to travel to clinical trials, experimental therapeutics, or treatment innovations that aren’t offered at local medical centers. They also offer SuperSibs, a great support resource for children to feel seen and connected while their sibling is going through cancer treatment.
The National Children’s Cancer Society offers a variety of resources and financial support for families of children with cancer, including emergency living expenses, travel costs, emotional support during and after treatment, publications, and college scholarships for childhood cancer survivors.
Little Wishes is a nonprofit that works with Stanford, Sutter, and UCSF to identify the wishes of hospitalized seriously ill children to make them come true. What makes Little Wishes unique is that children can make a new wish every two weeks, so they have a positive experience to look forward to. For a referral, talk to your social worker or Child Life Specialist.
CLF offers several programs to support children during their cancer treatments, including Educational Wish Baskets filled with age-appropriate gift items and a $75 gift card for children to purchase another wish item of their choice, as well as custom-made human hair wigs, and iPads. For a referral, speak to your oncology social worker.
Family Reach is a national nonprofit dedicated to alleviating the financial burden of cancer treatment. They offer financial education and coaching, resource navigation, and emergency relief funds for patients and their families to cover the cost of non-medical living expenses.
MBA Open Doors provides mortgage and rent assistance grants to parents and guardians caring for critically ill or injured children. They accept applications from the staff at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital on a rolling basis. Decisions about grantee applications are made on or around the 18th of every month. To be eligible for a grant beginning on the first of the month, grant applications must be received by the 10th of the month prior.
MTF offers four primary programs that are tailored to the needs of each child. These include Medical & Home Assistance, Healing & Rehabilitation, Conversion Vans, and Youth Leadership Council. These individualized services may include financial assistance with transportation, hotel stays, home assistance (mortgage, rent, utilities), counseling, integrative medicine & therapy, educational sessions, wheelchair-accessible vehicles, and much more.
There With Care provides a wide range of thoughtful and fundamental services to families with children who are in the critical phase of a medical crisis, including transportation, meal delivery, baby essentials, home maintenance, professional services (accounting, legal, counseling), sibling support, and communication technology. Referrals are available through select medical facilities.
Campaign One at a Time hosts fundraisers to help children under 18 who have received a life-threatening diagnosis from a medical professional (and are within 2 years of active treatment) fulfill one of their biggest dreams. They also provide fundraising opportunities for families facing extreme hardships (such as relapses, job loss, or bereavement) meals in the hospital, warrior boxes, and event attendance.
Fun & Recreational Foundations
CoachArt offers a transformative arts and athletic community for families of children impacted by serious chronic illnesses. CoachArt offers free art and athletic lessons to chronically ill children between ages 5-18 and their siblings. These lessons can take place inside the hospital, virtually, or at home. Participants can choose lessons in music, art, yoga, photography, dance, acting, and more.
Cody’sWheels of Hope provides bicycles, riding toys, and safety helmets for children under 18 with life-threatening illnesses. For children with physical limitations, they can also supply wagons or other appropriate wheeled toys.
Do It For The Love is a wish-granting nonprofit organization that brings individuals living with life-threatening illnesses, children with severe challenges, and wounded veterans to live concerts. Through the healing power of music, their goal is to inspire joy, hope, and lasting celebratory memories in the face of severe illness or trauma.
Grahamtastic Connection provides free technology to children with cancer and other serious illnesses. This includes iPads, laptops, robots, and internet access. They currently support children 3-18 years old and give priority to children in the northeastern states. Requests are fulfilled on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Icing Smiles is a nonprofit organization that provides custom celebration cakes and other treats to families impacted by the critical illness of a child. They understand that the simple things, like a birthday cake, are luxuries to a family battling illness.
Julia’s Grace Foundation helps children fighting cancer and their families by providing support to make the days “normal.” They offer opportunities for special family moments, whether at home, in the hospital, or at public events and venues. “Hugs” are simple surprises based on the child’s preferences or specific requests for an activity or event that a child and family would like to do. These are typically local and don’t require extensive travel. Julia’s Grace also provides up to $1000 a year in financial assistance for families experiencing hardship due to the direct result of a child’s cancer treatment and care.
Kids & Art offers art workshops to children with cancer and their care circles to improve their well-being during treatment, as survivors, and in bereavement. Professional artists are teamed up with families facing pediatric cancer to provide free art workshops at treatment centers and unique destinations.
Merlin’s Magic Wand provides free tickets and contributions toward travel grants for families of children facing serious long-term illness, disability, or adversity to visit select theme parks and attractions. For children who are hospitalized or unable to visit the theme parks, they bring magical experiences directly to them. Children must be between 2-18 years old at the time of application.
Monkey In My Chair is a program that helps children with cancer stay connected with their classmates while they’re receiving treatment. Each child is provided with a free “monkey kit” which includes a large stuffed monkey that takes their place at school while they’re unable to be there. The kit also includes a book for teachers to help explain their classmate’s situation, a teacher companion guide, and other items that can be utilized by the child and their classmates.
Songs of Love provides free personalized uplifting songs for children and teens (21 and under) currently facing tough medical, physical, or emotional challenges. Each song is professionally produced and contains lyrics with the children’s names and references to their favorite activities, people, and pets. The songs can be written in any musical style your child enjoys.
Sunshine Kids provides a variety of free positive group activities, emotional support programs, and exciting events for kids who are receiving cancer treatments in hospitals across North America. Activities can range from local to national destinations, as well as in-hospital parties. In addition, they also offer assistance for families for back-to-school, birthdays, holidays, graduation, and surprises for end-of-treatment or whenever children need a smile.
Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit that connects 5-16 year-old children facing serious and chronic illnesses to local college athletic teams to form life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes. Team IMPACT children are drafted onto the team and become official members from Draft Day through Graduation.
The Jesse Rees Foundation connects families of children battling cancer and brings awareness to their stories while also offering a network of helpful resources and encouragement. Joy Jars can be ordered for children under the age of 19 who are actively fighting cancer. These jars are age and gender-specific and filled with toys and activities that will make the children smile and feel loved. Their Breakaway Adventures send families on a 1-2-night mini vacation so they can “break away” from their cancer treatments. These are available for children in California under the age of 18 who are currently in the active fight against cancer. If you’d like to be nominated for a Breakaway Adventure, speak to your oncologist, nurse, or child life specialist.