Friday, October 26, 2012

Toy Box brings joy to children with cancer

THE JOY OF TOYS: Hope, left, and Quinn

IN NOVEMBER 2011, Hope Bolster, 2, was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of muscle cancer. Following the diagnosis, Hope endured surgeries to remove an abdominal tumor and a bowel obstruction, as well as proton beam therapy, during which she had to be anesthetized so she would lie still. But on Fridays, Hope and her sister, 6-year-old Quinn, could be carefree. Friday was the day the toy closet in the MGH Cancer Center would open. For children living with cancer and their siblings, toys have power – they provide an escape from needles and medications. The special closet is made possible through the Toy Box program, which receives funding from The Friends of the MGH Cancer Center, a volunteer group that raises money for educational and support services for oncology patients. Each week, the Toy Box distributes more than 35 toys to pediatric cancer patients and their siblings. The toys are the children’s to keep and enjoy. They provide positive memories during a difficult time. “The Friends partner with caregivers like Rachel Bolton, a generous, enthusiastic pediatric nurse in Radiation Oncology who created and administers this program,” says Barbara Hawkins, treasurer and grants committee chair of The Friends, explaining that Bolton often goes shopping to look for toys and even sews some handmade toys. “Rachel uses our funds to bring a dose of joy and comfort into the routine of pediatric patients and their siblings.” This year marks the 20th anniversary of one of the key fundraising events for The Friends, the annual fall benefit. The theme for the 2012 fundraiser, which will take place Nov. 7 from 6 to 9:30 pm at the Harvard Club in Boston, is “East Meets West – Celebrating a World of Care.” Tickets for the event are $150. For information about a special rate available to MGH staff, call 617-643-9677. For more information about The Friends or to register for the event, visit or email

Read more articles from the 10/26/12 Hotline issue.


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