Happy Holidays from World Eye Cancer Hope!

Monday December 21, 2020

2020 has been eventful and challenging for the whole world.  Throughout, WE C Hope has continued to serve, unite and advance our global retinoblastoma community. WE C Hope USA President and retinoblastoma survivor, Marissa Gonzalez, reflects on the year’s highlights with thanks, and shares some plans for the coming year.

Happy Holidays friends!  What a year this has been – an experience like no other.  We’ve been challenged by an unseen threat and its far-reaching impacts; individually, as a cancer community, and across neighborhoods, cities, countries and the world.  Through it all. WE C Hope has continued to support families and survivors, and advocate for best possible care.

2020 brought about many successful virtual events as our ways of communicating changed.  At our third annual California Family Day, new families from across the state and beyond met our Rb community, and old friends reconnected. We enjoyed informative presentations from CHLA staff members and doctors.

Our fundraising partnership with Kendra Scott jewelry’s #ShopForGood campaign saw two fundraisers in September and December, raising over $1,000 for our charity. Thanks to all who shared the information and participated. We hope you enjoy your new bling!

The One Retinoblastoma World 2020 conference was held October 3-4, hosted by our amazing teams in Canada. The conference was attended by over 250 people from 40 different countries. This was tremendous, and testifies to the vital need for this event. Witnessing the camaraderie amongst survivors, families and medical professionals was amazingly fulfilling and motivational.

Looking Forward with Hope to 2021!

2021 for WE C Hope kicks off with a virtual child life activity session on January 23 and February 20.  We are also excited to host an adult survivor meditation and mindfulness virtual learning session in January, date TBD.

We will host monthly virtual events to keep our retinoblastoma community connected and engaged. So please stay tuned for more dates to come.

Our alphabet of hope and blog series will focus on #MindAndBody in 2021, highlighting psychological aspects of the retinoblastoma experience.  Both the alphabet and blog will share practical mental health guidance and resources for our families and survivors throughout the year.

One Retinoblastoma World 2021 is scheduled for October 19 – 21, 2021 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The conference precedes the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) world congress, and WE C Hope is currently planning for a hybrid virtual and in-person event. We will keep everyone posted as there is more information regarding the ability to safely gather in Hawaii. We will host the event virtually, regardless of whether we can host an in-person component.

The words “Thank You” are written in script on a dark red background infused with light, surrounded by glowing red, gold and white love hearts.

Thank You Very Much, Muchas Gracias, Merci Beaucoup, Asante Sana!

I’d like to thank all of the frontline healthcare workers who take care of our Rb kiddos, their families and our adult survivors. Your dedication to our community is deeply appreciated, and we all thank you, especially this year, for all you do.

Thank you to all our friends for your continued support of World Eye Cancer Hope. Your financial contributions during this season of giving, and year round, help us produce the One Rb World conferences, and other vital programming. It’s truly only with your help that WE C Hope!  Please consider giving the gift of a charitable donation in the name of an Rb patient or survivor this holiday season.

Please Stay Safe!

Please stay safe and healthy, and make sure you follow government rules, regulations and guidance as we continue to fight COVID-19. Mask wearing, hand washing and sanitizing, and physical distancing are incredibly important, especially if your child is currently in treatment or recently finished.  If you are medically unable to wear a mask, I encourage you to find local delivery options in your area – it is better to err on the side of caution and take assistance where it is available.

We shared lots of resources for adults and children alike on ways to stay safe during the Pandemic back in August.  We’ve since added more videos from our child life specialist, Morgan Livingstone, to help children cope with wearing masks and physical distancing.

Please be mindful that social distancing can be challenging for the visually impaired and blind community.  Offering assistance or a simple helping hand when it is safe goes a long way. Check out the guidance in our blogs on how to communicate well with someone who has sight-loss, and how to effectively offer and give assistance.

Personally, as an individual with very low vision, I have had trouble with spacing in lines, or getting too close to someone in the store.  A kind word of assistance from a fellow shopper is always appreciated.

Happy New Year – See You In 2021!

I cannot wait for the day when I can see our incredible retinoblastoma community again in person, when it is safe.  Until then, stay safe and healthy!

Warmest greetings of the season to you, and sincere good wishes for the New Year, from me and all of my team at WE C Hope.

A pink banner with the words “save the date” spans the top of the image. Diamond Head in Honolulu is bathed in light, under a slightly cloudy blue sky. The One Rb World logo includes a yellow flower for Hawaii. Text reads: One Retinoblastoma World | Honolulu, Hawaii, October 19-21, 2021

About the Author

Marissa Gonzalez resides in Southern California and is an event director. She is a founding board member, and current President of World Eye Cancer Hope USA, and was Event Chair for the One Retinoblastoma World Conference in 2017. In her downtime, Marissa enjoys travelling and going to Disneyland.

Marissa, smiling and wearing a fascinator
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