Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Look Back at Teen with a Dream’s 2014

A Look Back at Teen with a Dream’s 2014

As we sat in our office reminiscing the foundation’s past year, we are truly overwhelmed with all of the wonderful and truly inspiring experiences we have had. That is why today, we want to share some of these exciting highlights we have had throughout the year!
January 2014-Boy’s Night Out
imageTeen with a Dream rented out a suite for teen boy patients to spend a night out watching the Colorado Avalanche! Each patient was able to bring a friend to the game and take a break from treatment!
February- L.A. Chemo-Day-Care-Bag Drop
imageDream Team Members spent the day engaging in art therapy with patients and handing out Chemo-Day-Care Bags! Patients were elated at celebrity appearances including: Bailey Madison, Carrie Wampler, Beverly Mitchell, Tiffany Theissen, Jenna Ortega, and Brady Smith!
April- Evening of Dreams: Celebrating your inner Child!
imageThe 2014 Silent Auction celebrated every individual’s inner child. From spin art cupcakes to giant bubbles, Dream Team Member supported our cause and had a great time doing it! This was also the first year to feature the “Experience Room” where attendees built their Compassion Bags that were delivered to patients!
May- Teen with a Dream was feature on!
June-First round of Compassion Bags launched connections to South Carolina Pediatric Cancer patients!
September-Launch of the Real Life Resource Blog
September served as the perfect month to launch our founder, Spencer’s, long time goal of providing pediatric cancer patients a guideline to getting through life with cancer. It has been quite the experience for us all to share Spencer’s first hand knowledge of cancer tips and tricks!
December- Compassion Projects, Giving Tuesday, Giving Trees and Colorado Gives Day-oh my!
Mammoth Heights 2nd Annual Compassion Project
Beauty Counter Compassion Project on Giving Tuesday
2014 Giving Trees: Walking with Dinosaurs + Disney Inspired “Frozen”
Colorado Gives Day 2014
Following their daughters diagnosis with Leukemia, this family’s world was turned upside down. As we combined forces with M2 Core+ [long time Dream Team Members] and wanted to make this a christmas to remember for this amazing family!

We are, from the bottom of our hearts, so grateful for the overwhelming support we have experienced this year and look forward to the new year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Devon Still was unsure of his fate following his try out with the Cincinnati Bangles. Even more so, his world was turned upside down and was more uncertain than ever following his four year old daughters diagnosis with stage four cancer. 
Being founded by a pediatric cancer survivor, we are aware of the overwhelming sense of chaos that a cancer diagnosis can cause. Also treatment is profoundly expensive. When the NFL team became aware of Still’s situation they immediately called him and informed him that he would be added to their practice squad in order to alleviate some of his family’s financial obstacles that would lie ahead-but that is not all…
The Bangles then began selling Devon Still’s jerseys and proceeds would be dedicated to aid pediatric cancer research. Within all cancer research only a mere 1% goes towards pediatrics. Still’s jersey sold more than any other Bangles player’s jersey within this time.
What an inspiring and compassionate story!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Safe Driving Tips: Getting to-and-from Treatment

Here at the Teen with a Dream headquarters we are seeing snow fall by the hour! Although not every patient will have to grapple with snow on their treatment days, we wanted to dedicate this Monday’s “Tips and Tricks” to Winter Driving Tips to ensure safe travels getting to and from the hospital for treatment days!
General Winter Driving Tips
  1. Make sure to check in with your local weather alerts and changing road conditions.
  2. Ensure that your vehicle has been for a “check-up”, avoiding any unexpected issues.
  3. Check all of your vehicles fluid-also keep a stand-by jug of windshield wiper fluid.
Snowy Driving Tips for Treatment Days
  1. Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas. Not only will this provide you with the comfort of knowing you won’t run out of gas, this will also add weight to your car-creating less of a possibility to slip and slide around.
  2. Put together a “survival kit” following treatment including such items as: a receptacle [in case of nausea], water, Ginger-Ale, Gatorades or other beverages in case of nausea and to help combat that yucky taste chemo causes, and little snacks that may also help with an upset stomach. By having this survival kit will help keep you on the road, avoiding extra stops and getting you home quicker.
  3. “Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads”[AAA]
  4. Make to sure to have a shovel in the car at all times during the winter months. It is better to be prepared in case your car gets stuck, and have a shovel to help dig out.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Importance of Drinking Water in the Winter

The winter months are upon us! Here at the Teen with a Dream headquarters we are in the mist of the continuous off-and-on falling of snow. During these months it is easy to turn to our favorite comfort foods and stay in doors. These foods tend to be high in sodium and calories which can absorb our body’s hydration.
This can have profound impacts on our water in-take. Water is arguably the most significant aspect of our diets. It is the resource that helps keep our body’s healthy and functioning. This is especially important for pediatric cancer patients! 
Why is water consumption important for the body?[Source].
  1. Balance of bodily fluids. “The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature”
  2. Water helps energize your muscles. Muscles must maintain balance of fluids which if not done-results in muscle fatigue.
  3. Skin Hydration. As we have shared before, chemotherapy can effect your body’s skin, hydration will help restore moisture into your body’s largest organ.
  4. Kidney Function. Kidney’s are the filter of our body’s and ensuring proper hydration will help them do their job of ridding the bad out of our body’s. 
Simple ways to help increase your water in-take:
  1. Freeze lemon, lime or orange slices to add a little flavor to your water
  2. Create a goal chart of how many glasses of water you would like to consume everyday
  3. SPLURGE! on a water bottle to take back and forth with you for treatment days! One water bottle company we love here at Teen with a Dream is Hydro Flask! It is a double insulted and vacuumed sealed water bottle that keeps your beverage hot or cold for 24 HOURS!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Some of our favorites…

As we are nearing the end of our fourth month of the Real Life Resource Blog’s launch-we wanted to take a quick glance back at some of our favorite posts.
Why it is one of our favorites- Ginger has become a staple component in numerous of other posts regarding side effects. We are striving to find new, innovative and natural ways to help with chemo side effects.
October- Sibling Support
Why it is one of our favorites- Chaos seems to take over following a child’s diagnosis with cancer. It is a difficult situation for everyone in the family and it can be natural to focus a majority of attention of the chid who is sick. We love this post because it shares simple ways to ensure support of all the siblings during this time as well. 
Why it is one of our favorites- Flu season seems to completely take over the winter months, and when you are a pediatric cancer patient..this season becomes even more critical in regards to staying well. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

10 DIY uses for your Left Over Wrapping Paper!

Use as a mat for a picture frame- The festive and vibrant colors of wrapping paper will serve as the perfect backdrop for your photos! You could even use the photos you take at your holiday gatherings
Line your cabinet drawers- This will add some color and organization to your kitchen! [Image Source] 
Scrapbooking Supplies-Use the extra scraps to highlight different aspects of your scrapbook! [Image Source]
Make an Advent Calendar- Scraps will be perfect to make your very own personalized calendar! 
Perfect packing shred- Run the paper through a shredder to create filler for gift boxes, shipping containers, and even Easter baskets. [Image Source]                      
Create your own Gift Bows- Check out this awesome tutorial here!
Mod Podge Crafts- Tune into your creative side and use the wrapping paper as the perfect backdrop for various crafts! Here is an example that Dream Team Member, Kati, did! 
Make Adorable Gift tags for throughout the year-Check out the tutorial here.
Create chic decorations for next years holidays- These adorably modern christmas trees are the perfect outlet to get rid of the wrapping paper-check it out here!
Gift Tissue Paper Craft Ideas- What would holiday gift wrapping be if there were not copious mounts of tissue paper? Check out these awesome craft projects with left over tissue!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays Dream Team!

From our family to yours, we hope that you all have a wonderful, safe and happy holiday! Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Children’s Christmas Tale-Print + Read

Two little children were sitting by the fire one cold winter’s night. All at once they heard a timid knock at the door, and one ran to open it. 
There, outside in the cold and the darkness, stood a child with no shoes upon his feet and clad in thin, ragged garments. He was shivering with cold, and he asked to come in and warm himself. 
“Yes, come,” cried both the children; “you shall have our place by the fire. Come in!” 
They drew the little stranger to their warm seat and shared their supper with him, and gave him their bed, while they slept on a hard bench. 
In the night they were awakened by strains of sweet music and, looking out, they saw a band of children in shining garments approaching the house. They were playing on golden harps, and the air was full of melody. 
Suddenly the Stranger Child stood before them; no longer cold and ragged, but clad in silvery light. 
His soft voice said: “I was cold and you took Me in. I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was tired, and you gave Me your bed. I am the Christ Child, wandering through the world to bring peace and happiness to all good children. As you have given to Me, so may this tree every year give rich fruit to you.” 
So saying, He broke a branch from the fir tree that grew near the door, and He planted it in the ground and [Pg 70]disappeared. But the branch grew into a great tree, and every year it bore wonderful golden fruit for the kind children. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


We are really feeling the holiday spirit today-as our long awaited project has finally come to life! We are so grateful to M2 Core + and their beyond generous clients who have made our project possible!
We were lucky enough to get in contact with an astounding family this holiday season to lend a helping hand. This family of four’s life was radically changed following their thirteen year old daughter’s diagnosis with ALL [Leukemia]. Her diagnosis seemed to alter every aspect of their lives. That is why M2 Core + and Teen with a Dream have partnered together to ensure that one thing that cancer will not take away from them is their faith in the Christmas spirit.
We are so grateful to all those who participated and helped make this Christmas one this family will hopefully always remember; moreover we are grateful in adding even more people to our fight against pediatric cancer-UNTIL THERE IS A CURE!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Tips + Tricks for foodies during this holiday week!

We all know that the holidays are about family-but they are also centered on our favorite food. That is why we thought today would be a perfect “Tips and Tricks” segment on getting through holiday meals during chemotherapy. So lets begin…
      I. Managing Nausea- As you may know we have dedicated a quite a few posts to combatting this strong side effect. So check out these couple different remedies to help ease your nausea:
    II. Chemo Mouth- One side effect that we also continually seek to combat, is the pestering taste in your mouth that chemo causes. Depending on the type of treatment that you or your child is undergoing- this taste can vary. This has fueled Teen with a Dream’s inclusion of Sour Skittles within in every Chemo Day Care Bag! Sour or tart flavors can help rid your mouth of this metal taste!
  III. Embracing the Flavor!- One piece of advice that the founder, Spencer, has stuck by is: to eat what tastes good to you during your treatment course.Although you may be prone to seeking food that is said to have “cancer-fighting” ingredients, it is more important at this stage to just get something in a patients belly-this is especially true for pediatric cancer patients who are in the mist of growing.
Of course, it is crucial to maintain constant communication with your doctor and/or nutritionist but we hope this tips and tricks Monday will provide you with a little comfort for this holiday week!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Family Friendly Chicken Stripes

Here is an amazing recipe that is simple and easy to make the perfect chicken stripes for your family. With Christmas being only few days away here is a simple. healthy, and fast recipe you can do and get rave reviews. 

This recipe is from Simple Bites Food Blog take a look at a ton of other amazing recipes on their site-read them here!
Chicken Strips
  • 1 lb chicken fillets
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • salt & pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 cup corn flakes, crushed into fine crumbs
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • salt & pepper

1. In a small bowl, mix buttermilk, salt, pepper and paprika. Add in fillets and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
3. Mix corn flakes and panko (try crushing them together a bit in a mortar or in a plastic bag with your palm to make flakes smaller) together on a plate, season with salt & pepper (and any other herbs or spices you may want).
4. Place one or two pieces of chicken at a time on plate, thoroughly coating each piece in crumbs.
5. For best results, bake on a greased metal cooling rack set atop a baking sheet. This allows the hot air to crisp all sides of the strips, instead of just one side. If you cannot get this set up, simply spray a baking sheet with baking spray and place strips directly on sheet.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
7. Serve alongside a nice salad for a light, yet filling dinner…but don’t forget the dip!
Photo by Elizabeth Nyland

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Why sleep matters + techniques for a better night’s rest

Last Saturday we introduced a simple yoga pose to help you with sleep. For children, sleep is extremely important but when you are a pediatric cancer patient it becomes even more critical!  We have found an astounding resource we have pulled from, the Cancer Center.
 So, let’s take a moment and analyze why this all matters:
  • A lack of sleep will create stress on the body, which ultimately can interfere with the body’s ability to fight off cancer
  • Additionally, research is showing that sleep quality can impact the way in which your body fights off cancer
What chemicals in the body are affected?
  • Cortisol: this chemical helps regulate the body’s immune system
  • Melatonin: the chemical that is produced in the brain during sleep. Studies are showing that Melatonin may have antioxidant properties and can help prevent damage to cells. This can have profound implications if you are cancer patient.
Additional steps you can take to get better sleep:

  • Light Therapy: This type of therapy is the use of low lit lights on a regulated schedule to establish sleep-wake cycles.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Deep breathing exercises, guided imagery
  • Avoid Distractions: turning of the television, wearing ear plugs, or relaxation sound machines
  • Yoga Exercises: We shared one yoga exercise that helps stimulate a more restful sleep 

Friday, December 19, 2014

DIY Photo Snow Globes

Splurge! This Splurge friday we have a craft that you can do with the whole family! DIY Photo snow globes. You not only get to spend time around a table with your family, but also get to encourage homemade from the heart gift giving. Not to mention celebrating the memories of your family. 

What you’ll need:
• A clean jar with a lid
• Photograph(s)
• Scrapbooking paper
• Spray paint
• Craft paint
• Glitter
• Hot glue
• White pompoms
• Any additional embellishments you might want to add 


1. After you’ve thoroughly cleaned your jars soak them in warm water to remove the labels. Any residual adhesive can be removed with a product like ‘goo-be-gone’.

2. To paint the lids first give them a coat of spray paint, this will act as a primer & help the craft paint to stick to the metal surface. Once dry you can paint 1-2 coats of craft paint (I used a metallic finish acrylic paint) to the lid. Set aside to dry.

3. Next, cut out a piece of scrapbook paper (I love the look of glittery ones through the glass) to fit the height of the inside of your jar & a little less than the width of your jar. It will serve as your background so it doesn’t need to be too large.

4. Take your photographs & cut out the images you’d like to use in your jars. Fold up the bottom ½ inch of your photo, this will be the base on which your photo stands. Glue a small popsicle stick to the bottom back of your photo to help stabilize it, then apply more glue to the bottom of the photo & stick it into place. You can use something like scissors or a capped pen to help press the photo to the bottom of the jar.

5. Help your photo stand by placing “snow” (white pompoms) behind it & around it. For the snow in the front of the jar I cut each pompom in half & pulled it apart a bit. If snow on the ground doesn’t seem fitting for the memory in your jar another idea is to paint a little white glue around the photo, along the base of the jar and then sprinkle glitter. This is what I did for the base of the photo that had my husband & daughter sleeping on the couch.

6. Replace the lid & embellish with any ribbons, glitter or bows you’d like. Place on the mantel & enjoy your mini-scrapbook every time you walk by!

Idea created by Natasha @ Little Pink Monster

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2nd Annual Compassion Project at Mammoth Heights Elementary School

2nd Annual Compassion Project at Mammoth Heights Elementary School

We are so excited to share with you our second annual Compassion Project with Meghan Free’s students at Mammoth Heights Elementary School. Ms. Free is the sister of Teen with a Dream’s, Executive Assistant and Social Media Marketer, Kati. Meghan has been a Dream Team Member for years and strives to incorporate compassion within her classroom, and inspire students to show compassion within their own lives.
The Compassion Project is designed to connect students within the community with pediatric cancer patients. It is branched off of our signature Chemo-Day-Care-Bag Drop program. These Compassion Bags are designed to engage the patients mind and spirit during their 8-10 hours of treatment, that occurs on average 3-4 times a week.
Each student was assigned an age and sex of a patient. For nearly an entire school semester Ms. Free’s class has dedicated themselves to learning about, embracing and engaging in the concept of COMPASSION.
 These students went above and beyond creating their #2014CompassionBags! From handmade sock monkeys to activity books, each bag was filled with compassion and care. Each student completed their bag with a hand written letter to further the connection between themselves and the patient even more!
Take a look at the astounding bags that the students created: