Our History of Helping Kids

A simple idea.

Friends of Kids with Cancer has a proud 23-year history exclusively in St. Louis of helping kids with cancer…be kids. Jill Turec, Developmental Specialist at Mercy Clinic Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center, along with concerned parents, Molly Henry and Susie Snowden, saw the great need to enrich the daily lives and divert the attention of the patients outside of the medical treatments. These three women shared a dream that every child with cancer would experience as much fun, laughter, support and normalcy as possible. It was this idea that was the birth of Friends of Kids with Cancer. Starting in the office of Dr. Bob Bergamini in 1992, the inaugural program, The Big Shelf, now known as the Toy Closet, was launched to brighten the long gloomy and painful days spent in the treatment center.

From that day on, Friends has been driven to meet the ever-evolving needs of not only the patients but their entire families. Everything Friends does is suggested by medical professionals and patient families. Dr. Bob’s philosophy is to “treat the needs of the entire child…not only the cancer”. Friends is such an important and unique charity because it gives back something that medicine can’t. The Educational, Emotional and Recreational programs build self-esteem and improve the quality of life to assure that the patients and their families remain positive, focused and prepared to meet their future needs.

The glue.

Friends of Kids with Cancer has a unique niche for the families of children battling cancer: the glue. Cancer doesn’t just fight the blood cells in a child’s body; it puts a strain on the entire family physically, mentally and financially. Fighting cancer is tough for everyone, but for a child with so little life experiences, as well as the social and emotional handicaps that accompany their treatment, make it extremely trying. Friends of Kids with Cancer is the glue that mends and holds together all of the devastating pieces cancer creates.

The power of positive thinking.

Friends of Kids with Cancer doesn’t create miracles; those are left to modern medicine and the doctors and nurses who administer them. What we do, however, is create a positive frame of mind. Universally, being happy, positive and motivated makes every child more likely to succeed at whatever their goal happens to be. We believe the same applies here. Friends cultivates mental well being with programs that help children and their families fighting cancer, cope with the daily challenges they face, make the best out of the situation they are in, and most importantly, remember that they will not be robbed of their childhood.