Programs and Services

Childhood cancer places a heavy financial burden on families. In many cases, one parent must reduce work hours or even give up employment completely to care for a critically ill child. At the same time, the family’s expenses skyrocket due to medical and pharmacy co-pays; costs for travel, parking and meals at hospitals; and increased daycare costs for siblings. To help meet these needs, DC Candlelighters offers financial assistance to families of children in treatment for cancer.

Click here for our financial assistance policy and application.

Growing Hope and DC Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation 2018 – Combined Survivor Scholarship

DC Candlelighters and Growing Hope are teaming up to offer scholarships to childhood cancer survivors in the DC Metro area aged 17 to 30, to help with the costs of college or technical or vocational school. Our 2018 scholarship applications will be available next year.


The Rachel Crossett Memorial Scholarship

The Rachel Crossett Memorial Scholarship is presented to a survivor of childhood cancer pursuing post-secondary education (college or trade school). The Crossett family established the scholarship in honor of their beautiful, vibrant daughter whose life was cut short by neuroblastoma in 2001, at only 6 years old.

The second youngest of six children, Rachel was a girly girl who always knew what she wanted – and one of the things she wanted was an end to childhood cancer. In 2000, Rachel spoke before Congress with her mother, Meg, at the first Childhood Cancer Awareness Day on Capitol Hill. Rachel was also the inspiration for the National Gold Ribbon Awareness Tree.

Funded by a grant from Teardrops to Rainbows, the Rachel Crossett Memorial Scholarship honors the spirit and determination of a young girl who touched the lives of all who knew her, and recognizes that for some survivors of childhood cancer, the battle never really ends.

Rachel Crossett

Books on Cancer Topics

Through our partnership with the American Childhood Cancer Organization, DC Candlelighters provides books to families at little or no cost, including age-specific books for preschoolers, children and teens with cancer, and books for siblings of cancer patients. Resource books for parents cover the various aspects of a childhood cancer diagnosis, including information on clinical trials, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, financial assistance, emotional and social issues, late term effects and educational issues.

Parent Support Evenings

In association with the Life with Cancer Family Center, DC Candlelighters co-sponsors parent support evenings which include dinner, childcare and speakers covering a variety of topics including treatment protocols, educational issues and coping with the side effects of treatment. A list of upcoming dates and topics is available on our events page.

Hospital Visits

DC Candlelighters volunteers make informal visits to Inova Fairfax Hospital, Children’s National Medical Center, Georgetown University Hospital, and the local outpatient clinics throughout the year. During these visits DC Candlelighters provides tea and coffee breaks that give caregivers a chance to speak with others who have walked in their shoes and understand the childhood cancer experience. DC Candlelighters volunteers provide a helping hand, a listening ear and when needed, a shoulder to cry on.

DC Candlelighters periodically provides weekend dinners at the hospitals to give families a chance to enjoy a meal together outside of the hospital room.

Family events

When a child has cancer, the entire family has cancer. Siblings are often shuffled off to relatives or friends while parents struggle to care for the sick child and provide for basic needs. Husbands and wives may have time for little more than a “status report” as they trade off taking turns caring for a child in the hospital. DC Candlelighters provides activities for all members of the family, to help them reconnect and take a break from the world of childhood cancer. Annual DC Candlelighters family events include:

  • Mother-Daughter Spa Night
  • Rachel’s Tea Party
  • Family Bingo Night
  • Father-Son Night
  • A Day at the Pumpkin Patch
  • Halloween Party
  • Winter Holiday Party

Make A Donation