Unitus Helps Deliver the Healing Power of Joy to Children Fighting Cancer

Battling a serious illness is one of the most harrowing experiences a person can have. It’s physically demanding, mentally exhaustive, and traumatic for both the patient and their loved ones. It’s even more emotionally devastating for children, whose childhoods should be filled with joy and laughter rather than hospital rooms and treatment centers.

But “joy” is exactly what the Children’s Cancer Association (CCA) in Portland aims to give young patients bravely fighting cancer and other serious illnesses. For 26 years, CCA has delivered programs to help young patients find their joy — “one song, one friendship, one breath of ocean air at a time.” And with help from generous donors and community partners, such as Unitus Community Credit Union and other Northwest credit unions, that’s exactly what they do.

“In 2017, we began our relationship with Children’s Cancer Association because we knew that CCA, like Unitus, is a local organization committed to making a big impact on our community,” said Aimee Berg, Community Development Manager at Unitus. “It’s been an absolute honor and joy to support CCA and grow our partnership since that time. From sending #TeamUnitus to the Oregon coast to volunteer at their Caring Cabin to participating in yard clean-up projects for families whose child was undergoing treatment, it’s been life-changing for our organization to get involved with CCA.”

Berg shared that one particularly special way the credit union has helped spread joy is by hosting several CCA patients for VIP experiences at Oregon State Beavers, Portland Timbers, and Portland Thorns games through Unitus’ Dream Come True program. The credit union also sponsors CCA’s annual Joy Makers campaign, a critical fundraiser that brings the healing power of joy to seriously ill kids, teens, and their families, explained Barbara Peschiera, CCA’s Director of Development.

“We have seen the joy this project has brought to the Unitus team and members these past few years, and have enjoyed the creativity it has unleashed,” she said. “Between selling Hearts of Joy in the branches, encouraging members to donate online, and inspiring employees to donate, Joy Makers has become an integral part of the Unitus culture.”

It certainly has. According to Berg, everyone in the Unitus family looks forward to the campaign every year, including the credit union’s 100,000-plus members. “Fundraising for CCA during February through their Joy Makers campaign is loved by both our staff and members alike. We often raise $10,000 in just three days of kickoff!”

Peschiera said all the support CCA has received from credit unions has been invaluable.

“We deeply appreciate our partnership with Unitus, as well as OnPoint Community Credit Union that has been the presenting sponsor of our Invitational Golf Tournament, and Clackamas Federal Credit Union that most recently was a strong participant in our Every Minute Counts wellness challenge that takes place in April,” said Peschiera. “We hope other credit unions will join the Joy Makers and Every Minute Counts initiatives this year and look forward to some friendly competition.”

For more information about CCA, please contact Peschiera at BPeschiera@joyrx.org.

Posted in Around the NW, CU Difference.