OCCA supplies educational materials and resource information for newly diagnosed patients. The first several weeks after a diagnosis can be mind numbing. Patients are provided a tote bag full of valuable information, useful items, resources and helpful phone numbers.
OCCA keeps a wonderful “toy closet” in the Jimmy Everest Center. The “closet” is full of toys for all ages and gift cards. Patients pick a gift on their birthday or following a painful procedure. Children quickly get through their procedure so they can visit the Toy Closet!
OCCA holds a Christmas Party each year in the Leadership Square atrium in downtown Oklahoma City. Surviving and current patients of the OU Physicians Jimmy Everest Center and their families are invited. Each child and sibling receives a gift from Santa, sit on Santa's lap and get their photo taken as they tell him their wishes. Volunteers help patients and their siblings and create one of a kind keepsake ornaments. Volunteers donate yummy cookies, pizza and refreshments. During this special holiday event patients and their families enjoy visiting and renewing friendships as well as lending support to one another. A paper airplane contest from the second story balcony serves as the party’s grand finale. It is a clear favorite for the kids — so much so that we had to start changing the paper color each year, as the kids would bring previously created airplanes in an effort to win the coveted first prize.
OU's Children's Physicians Jimmy Everest Cancer Center serves between 90 and 100 new patients a year, and approximately 300 existing patients are also treated. The art therapy program is made available daily to patients and their siblings during clinic visits to the Jimmy Everest Cancer. Sickle Cell patients also participate in our activities and events. It is not uncommon to find parents working on projects with their children while visiting with other parents and patients. The Art Room is a fun place staffed daily by energetic and creative volunteers. These creative engineers and child enthusiasts work hard to ensure that patients and their families have a positive, fun and happy experience each time they visit the clinic. Volunteers supply the patient with art projects & craft ideas during their stay. The Art Room is a gathering place for parents and caregivers to seek support and share information in a friendly atmosphere.
Painting, singing, writing poetry, dancing the hokey pokey and sprinkling glitter everywhere are just some of the fun activities in the Happy Place art space. The Art Room is situated in a very serious building but the fun and silly adventures and activities are the only serious thing happening inside these walls. The Art Room has become a friendly place where patients feel comfortable. While waiting to see the doctor, receiving chemotherapy or waiting for a painful procedure, patients meet new friends, and gain the support of one another.
OCCA provides all the supplies needed for daily activities in the Art Room, from paintbrushes to birthday cupcakes. Patients love the art room so much that they continue to come back from time to time after their treatment is complete. It is a creative, happy, loving place for parents and their children to enjoy while they await their appointment or treatment.
Numerous times throughout the year we have surprise visits from local artists, OU and OSU athletes, coaches and other local celebrities. It allows the children to work on an art project before, after and sometimes during their treatment keeping their minds off the hassle of treatment. The art area was even the site of a Guinness world record as we created the longest pipe cleaner heart chain.
OCCA families, staff and friends gather once a year to remember special loved ones in a simple and beautiful memorial service. OCCA funds the location and refreshments, and it’s usually held at the Embassy Suites between Moore and Norman.
The support group is hosted by Danny Cavett on the 2nd Wednesday of every month. The group meets in the Jimmy Everest Center at noon with pizza and drinks provided. For more information please call: 271-5758.
OCCA offers college scholarships for college and higher education to patients and former patients of the Jimmy Everest Cancer Center. OCCA endows the Michelle Erica Scholarship Fund as one of our many budget items.