Five-year-old Eliana, diagnosed with brain cancer at 4 months old, now looks forward to riding horses while gaining confidence and physical strength thanks to a collaboration with the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center. (Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation photo)

The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is proud to announce our two most recent collaborations with Marian Regional Medical Center at Mission Hope Cancer Center in Santa Maria and with Hearts Therapeutic Riding Center in Santa Barbara.

In 2014, 52 percent of TBCF families residing in Santa Barbara County lived north of Lompoc. Unfortunately, many of these families had to travel long distances to get their child to a medical center equipped to treat pediatric cancer. Some families had to travel as far as Cottage Children’s Hospital in Santa Barbara, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto or even Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Now, free professional support is offered in both English and Spanish in a safe and accessible space for local families affected by pediatric cancer.

The Mission Hope Cancer Center hosts Family Night, a support group for children and teens with cancer. This monthly group is designed to meet the emotional support needs of the entire family unit and to manage the hardships that accompany a child’s cancer diagnosis. Family Nights are facilitated by licensed therapists and social workers and include fun and age-appropriate activities such as art therapy, discussion groups for both parents and children, and dinner.

As a result of the development of a new and exciting collaborative partnership with Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center, earlier this year TBCF recipients Lumi and Eliana participated in therapeutic riding sessions.

Lumi was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 6 months old and has been in a wheelchair ever since. Eliana was diagnosed with brain cancer at 4 months old. Now, 8-year-old Lumi and 5-year-old Eliana look forward to riding horses while gaining confidence and physical strength.

Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center provides equine assisted activities and therapies to inspire, strengthen, and motivate people of all ages and capabilities. Thanks to the new partnership, TBCF children will have the opportunity to participate in therapeutic riding sessions designed to meet each individual’s goals and ability.

TBCF is thrilled about our newly established collaborative efforts and thanks Hearts Therapeutic Riding Center and Marian Regional Medical Center at Mission Hope Cancer Center for wonderful partnerships that will enable us to mutually support youth in our community.

Click here for more information about the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.