More than 200,000 children to date have benefited from the vision and drive of Barbara Reid-Haramis, founder and Executive Director of the Childhood Leukemia Foundation in Brick, New Jersey. Since its establishment in 1992, the Foundation has grown to accommodate the needs of children of all ages across the United States who suffer from various forms of cancer.
After observing the effects of the painful aftermath of cancer treatments that many children have to face alone while their families are either working or far away, Ms. Reid-Haramis discovered what a difference just a little bit of encouragement can make. Having obtained her degree in psychology from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Barbara Reid-Haramis believes that persevering in optimism is one way to fight the devastating effects of cancer, and she targets innovative ways to lift the spirits of these brave children.
One program, Hugs-U-Wear, provides kids who have lost their hair from aggressive cancer treatments with 100% natural human hair wigs and kid-friendly hats, often making a big difference in the psychological effects caused by their illness. The Childhood Leukemia Foundation’s Wish Baskets program compiles several fun, age-appropriate gifts to brighten the dark moments after a painful procedure such as a spinal tap or grueling chemotherapy treatment. Barbara Reid-Haramis has seen how the games, pajamas, gift cards, and other items give the children a new reason to smile. Donated phone cards allow children a chance to connect with their families who are often far away, and give them the reassurance of a loving connection when they feel lonely.
Another original idea is the Hope Binder, which centralizes all the overwhelming information and medical materials that parents and caregivers must understand and manage. Barbara Reid-Haramis provides the Hope Binder to assist recipients in staying on top of treatment plans, insurance documentation, appointments, prescriptions, and dietary needs. Parents also enjoy some time off with peace of mind, knowing that they can hand all the information over to a temporary caregiver. Innovations like these have set her Foundation apart.