Candlelighters Simcoe was founded in 1990 by Barbara Johnson, a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and mother of three now-grown children, one of whom is a two-time survivor of childhood cancer. Johnson’s experience supporting her son through his treatments opened her eyes to the gaps in support services for families of children with cancer. Our organization strives to bridge those gaps by providing much-needed programs and services for families in Simcoe County and surrounding areas, and to those they depend on for strength and support.
Cancer is the leading disease-related cause of death in Ontario children; only accidents will kill more children this year. The causes of childhood cancer are diverse and often poorly understood. Though survivorship in the pediatric population has improved across all diagnoses over the past 20 years (now at 80% and rising), the psychological and social impact of childhood cancer remains significant. Pediatric cancer patients and their families may experience problems coping with the emotional and physical toll of diagnosis and treatment, and may struggle with lapsed school achievement, learning deficits, and secondary health concerns. A childhood cancer diagnosis can place significant financial strain on families. As a result, one third of families experience housing, energy, or food insecurity within six months of diagnosis.
As a not-for-profit, volunteer-driven organization, Candlelighters Simcoe endeavours to lessen the burden carried by families in Simcoe County and surrounding areas who struggle with childhood cancer, letting them know that they are not alone in their fight.