Remarkable Local America: Lucy’s Love Bus

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In 2006, Lucy told her mom she was “done with cancer.” She was going to start a program that offered free, integrative therapies to kids like her. She formed Lucy’s Love Bus, a nonprofit organization, six months before she died from complications with a bone marrow transplant.

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Her friends and family have continued the work in her stead. They decided the best way to honor her was to love the kids she loved. Since 2006, Lucy’s Love Bus has helped over 300 kids manage the side and late effects of traditional cancer care.

The kids get to remember what it’s like to be a kid again. They learn to play the piano, guitar, or other musical instrument. They ride horses. They take swimming and dance lessons. They paint and draw.

They also receive nontraditional care that touches the body and heals the spirit. They can receive treatments like acupuncture and massages. They also can explore meditation, Reiki, and Tai Chi.

Lucy’s voice echoes through all those classes, programs, and therapies: “When you look at the sick children, follow them to the place they can speak to you in. Notice their bodies are two things, love and illness, and help them remember the love and not the sickness. The healing is in knowing who you were, not what you might be.”

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Caring for cancer kids was only one part of Lucy’s dream. The other was motivating kids to get involved. She knew kids could make a big difference.

She was right. Her sister and her friends hosted the first Fly-Away Festival in 2010 and raised over $50,000 for kids with cancer. Today, kids are encouraged to participate in a more formalized way. They can get involved with Lucy’s Kid Corps school program. They learn about leadership and service. At the end of the program, they form teams and come up with creative ways to raise funds that will fully or partially support kids on Lucy’s waitlist.

Another opportunity is the KidsCanGiveToo initiative. Kids can “donate” their birthdays to Lucy’s Love Bus. Instead of guests giving standard birthday gifts, they make monetary contributions to the organization. The donations have allowed kids on the waitlist to take gymnastics classes or guitar lessons.

Adults aren’t left out. Lucy’s Love Bus features two vibrant programs, one for businesses and companies called “Lucy’s Pit Crew” and another for individuals called “Lucy’s Love Corps.” Businesses can sponsor a child for an average of $1,000 a year. They receive updates about the child and are promoted on the website and social media as a “thank you.” Lucy’s Love Corp members commit to giving a certain amount per month for an entire year. Like the “crew,” they’re thanked personally and championed on the website.

Want to get involved? Contact Lucy’s Love Bus!

Image: Andy Maluche (Creative Commons)