As we begin a new year, I am very excited about significant changes we are making at American Childhood Cancer Organization Inland Northwest.
Although sometimes change can be hard, it is a necessary part of life. As Heraclitus said, "There is nothing permanent except change." How we adapt to change, sets our path. As parents of children with cancer, we know that all too well.
Our goals remain the same: mutually support families during extremely difficult circumstances, provide information and solidarity to empower ourselves with the difficult roads we walk. Coming from a place of experience, we can respond in a way that no else can. Putting parameters and structure to our support, strengthens our ability to address increasingly difficult challenges.
Our goal is to continue to provide a grassroots voice and support for children with cancer and their families. The more united we are, the louder our voice and better our support.
There are many challenges and it takes all of us working together “because kids can’t fight cancer alone ®!”
With this in mind, and with a desire to increase ACCO's ability to respond to new and old challenges, I have accepted a new position with our National office as Division Director. As of February 2, I will be leaving my position as Executive Director of the ACCO Inland Northwest.
I will be working to bring ACCO Divisions to other parts of the country. Our goal is that no matter where a child is diagnosed, they and their family will be supported with information, resources, and another parent who knows, understands, and is there to help.
I will also work to unite the many other organizations doing great work so that we can increase our voice nationally.
Together, we can make a significant impact. As you all know, childhood cancer is a devastating disease for the whole family. Having walked that road more than once and knowing first-hand the disruption, I remain steadfastly committed to assisting families with continually accommodating resources to address current issues.
As the survey results (this newsletter) show, there is a great need to provide additional resources at home and to help with end-of-treatment and long-term survivor issues.
Our local goals will remain just as steadfast as well. We are strengthening our teen support alongside the hospital social worker and our adult survivors. We are also strengthening our bereaved parents’ support. In process is a focus group to create a Community Outreach program to address systematically these and other issues.
We have come a long way and we have much work ahead. Nevertheless, I am absolutely certain that our children will lead us and we will significantly impact services for children with cancer and families in meaningful and helpful ways.
I am very honored and grateful for the time I have served as your Executive Director. Without this group, I would not have found the strength to endure Michael's diagnosis and death. I know that my successor will serve our group admirably and lead us where we need to go.
As we progress, we will keep you informed of these and other changes.
With much love,
Mary Anne Ruddis