New Lenox Family Gives Back to the Treasure Chest Foundation
Seven years ago, Taylor James was diagnosed with a form of high-risk leukemia, at the age of three. Within days of the diagnosis the James family of New Lenox learned their daughter would require a bone marrow transplant due to her subtype of leukemia and that they needed to start looking for a bone marrow donor. Their oldest son Matt was found to be a perfect match and, within two months of her initial diagnosis, Taylor was undergoing a bone marrow transplant.
This past holiday season, the James family decided to give back to the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation (POTCF), the organization that helped Taylor throughout her treatment period, by hosting a family Christmas party at their New Lenox home to celebrate the seventh anniversary of her successful bone marrow transplant. The POTCF is a non-profit organization that provides comfort and distraction from painful procedures to children and teens diagnosed with cancer by providing a toy, gift or gift card in 42 hospitals across 13 states nationwide.
The party attendees were asked to bring a toy for children currently undergoing cancer treatment at Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn and Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, the two institutions that cared for Taylor. Approximately 40 friends, neighbors, teachers and family members were on hand to celebrate the occasion, and they came through in fine fashion by providing nearly 100 toys to benefit kids fighting cancer.
Taylor’s mother Maureen recalled the positive effect that the toys from the Treasure Chest Foundation had provided to her daughter throughout her treatments. “The Treasure Chest Foundation is so wonderful. Being able to select a toy or gift card truly helps these kids firsthand while they are going through treatment.”
Taylor’s father Patrick said, “We are counting our blessings that Taylor is doing so well. She has matured over the years and she wants to do something for the kids who are going through cancer treatments similar to hers.”
POTCF Founder and CEO Colleen Kisel said, “My heart was especially moved as I could recall the day my own son was diagnosed with leukemia. It is hard enough to hear the word ‘cancer’ let alone that your child needs a bone marrow transplant all in the same sentence. We feel so blessed to have the support of the James family along with their friends and neighbors.”
Taylor’s big brother Matt, her marrow donor, said, “I know the Treasure Chest made Taylor happy. It is nice to see our friends and family coming together to help.”
When asked how she felt about giving up all of the toys collected during the holiday party, ten-year-old Taylor said it best: “The kids in the hospital need the toys more than I do. My favorite gift I received from the Treasure Chest was a green and white soccer ball that I still have.”
The POTCF is a unique organization whose services impact more than 7,900 young cancer patients each month. Nowhere else in the nation does such a program exist. Colleen Kisel founded the organization in 1996 after her then seven-year-old son Martin had been diagnosed with leukemia in 1993. Ms. Kisel discovered that giving her son a toy after each procedure provided a calming distraction from his pain, noting that when children are diagnosed with cancer their world soon becomes filled with doctors, nurses, chemotherapy drugs, surgeries and seemingly endless painful procedures. Martin celebrated his 19th anniversary of remission from the disease in 2012.
If you would like further information about the Treasure Chest Foundation, please contact Colleen Kisel at 708-687-TOYS (8697) or visit the Foundation’s web site at www.treasurechest.org.