In early December, patients and families at Childrens Hospital Boston enjoy the start of a week-long winter festival that highlights the Christmas book Polar Express. The event also includes several days of interactive holiday crafts and activities, and culminates with distribution of “Believe” brass sleigh bells.
This tradition began several years ago, and remains our annual program at the hospital for pediatric cancer and transplant patients, siblings, and families. The festival has expanded to include additional units, with contributions of pajamas, slippers and other essentials by many organizations.
We thank the Trustees of Reservations for welcoming our exhibit at the annual Christmas open house at the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA. That exhibit is underwritten by the Institution for Savings, whose sponsorship then allows us to fund and organize this Polar Express event at Children’s Hospital Boston.
This nonprofit has been operating since 2007, and has accomplished the following projects:
- Family and patient programming at Childrens Hospital Boston for oncology, hematology, and transplant units: holiday and seasonal events with crafts, activities, games
- Support for pediatric patients at Mass General, Dana Farber, Childrens Hospital Boston, Maine Medical Laura Bush Children’s Hospital, Beverly Hospital, and other regional hospitals and clinics
- Trained high school volunteers who have gone on to pursue medical or child development careers
- Established community events that celebrate life and remember loved ones:
- Direct support for families living with cancer and other challenges: meals and gift cards for meals, toiletries, books, games and interactive educational tools such as iPads, parking passes, and financial assistance
- Sibling and family support with access to concerts and events with Dana Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic
- Provided childlife resources such as books, soccer balls, and toys for children being treated for burns and cleft palates by international teams such as Rotaplast
- Developed a grief therapy for surviving siblings
- Fundraising for cancer research and treatment with Pan Mass Challenge/PMC as part of Team Kermit: Chris Doktor and Sarah Doktor
- Support for research for rare diseases such as CMTJ4
Bright Happy Power has several upcoming events.
- Monday, April 16, Jessie’s sister Sarah Doktor will volunteer in a medical tent at the Boston Marathon. Sarah has pursued a career in nursing, inspired by her younger sister’s journey with childhood cancer, as well as her work with various populations in the field of emergency medicine and public health.
Our family’s connection to the Boston Marathon goes back to 2002, the first year that Dr William Tan, a wheelchair athlete from Singapore, partnered with Jessie to compete in the Marathon and raise funds for Childrens Hospital Boston. He continued to race every year, and notably carried Jessie across the finish line on his lap in his regular push chair one year. He shared his medals with Jessie, her sister Sarah. Ironically, Dr. Tan was diagnosed with leukemia, and spent time undergoing chemo, radiation and a successful bone marrow transplant, before once more returning to the United States for several years to compete again in the Marathon.Other athletes have also raced in honor of and memory of Jessie, raising funds for Mass General Hospital and Dana Farber.
- In June 2018, Sarah Doktor, co-founder of Bright Happy Power, will host an event for cancer and transplant patients at Childrens Hospital Boston with volunteers with food, crafts, and games. The theme is “zoo day”.
- In August 2018, Chris Doktor and Sarah Doktor will ride again in the Pan Mass Challenge to raise funds and awareness for cancer research and treatment. Click on their names to support their rides. They have been riding as a father-daughter team for 10 years. They now ride as part of Team Kermit.