The Lyons Township High School Social Action Club recently gave to children and teens fighting cancer by organizing a toy drive to benefit the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation (POTCF). The Orland Park-based non-profit organization provides comfort and distraction from painful treatments to children and teens diagnosed with cancer by providing a toy or gift card in 45 hospitals across 16 states nationwide.
The idea to hold a toy drive was suggested by one of the Social Action Club members, sophomore Jessica Duelm, whose brother Tyler lost his battle with cancer in 2007 at age three. Tyler is continually remembered in the LaGrange community for courage in the face of tremendous adversity.
The Social Action Club’s mission is to help local community members in need by organizing and participating in fundraising events and by volunteering for various Chicagoland organizations. When the group met recently to determine which charities it would help this year, Jessica remembered how the Treasure Chest Foundation had supported her brave young brother during his cancer treatments. “I know the Treasure Chest Foundation helps so many children fighting cancer,” said Jessica. “My family was affected by my little brother’s cancer, so I wanted to reach out and support the Foundation.”
Treasure Chest Foundation CEO and Founder Colleen Kisel said, “We are blessed to have the support of Jessica Duelm and the Lyons Township High School Social Action Club. Despite the pain the Duelm family has had to endure, they have continued to support the Treasure Chest Foundation in memory of their beloved son Tyler, and for that we are so grateful.”
The POTCF is a unique organization whose services impact more than 8,600 children and teens each month. Nowhere else in the nation does such a program exist. Ms. Kisel founded the organization in 1996 after her then seven-year-old son Martin had been diagnosed with leukemia in 1993. She discovered that giving her son a toy after each procedure provided a calming distraction from his pain, noting that when children are diagnosed with cancer their world soon becomes filled with doctors, nurses, chemotherapy drugs, surgeries and seemingly endless painful procedures. Martin celebrated his 20th anniversary of remission from the disease in 2013.
If you would like further information about the Treasure Chest Foundation, please contact Colleen Kisel at 708-687-TOYS (8697) or visit the Foundation’s web site at www.treasurechest.org.