The Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation
On February 15, 1993, seven-year-old Martin Kisel was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, commonly known as ALL. During the following three years, Martin — like so many other young cancer patients — experienced a series of painful procedures as well as intensive chemotherapy as part of his treatment protocol.
As Martin endured the seemingly endless procedures, his mother, Colleen Kisel, discovered that providing him with a small toy after each procedure resulted in a calming distraction from his pain. Colleen could see the joy these toys gave her son and believed this would be good for all children who were being treated for cancer. She began a letter writing campaign to solicit donations, and in August of 1996 her efforts paid off when she was honored with a large donation from Aramark Corporation. That donation officially launched the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation.
In the ensuing years, the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation has experienced phenomenal growth thanks to the caring support from hundreds of individual and corporate donors and benefactors. Today, we can proudly point to our 50 locations spread across 18 states nationwide and know that more than 10,000 young children and teens are being comforted each month as they endure the hardships of cancer treatment. Annual fundraising events such as the Treasuring Our Kids Spring Fling have helped us accomplish our objective of providing toys and smiles to kids with cancer.
The following incident illustrates the program’s positive impact on the lives of children with cancer:
On a recent visit to the clinic, Colleen and her son Marty heard a little boy about three or four years old crying in one of the treatment rooms. Marty turned to his mother and exclaimed, “He’s getting a bone marrow, Mom!” Marty knew that having a bone marrow extracted from his hip would be a very painful procedure. Suddenly, the crying stopped and the young boy exclaimed, “Do I get my toy now?” The nurses happily said, “Follow us,” and off the young boy went like a proud soldier to the treasure chest full of toys.