Candlelighters debuts play room for children with cancer - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Candlelighters debuts play room for children with cancer

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Children are entertained by a puppet show in the play room at the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation facility on Monday, Sept. 15. (FOX5) Children are entertained by a puppet show in the play room at the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation facility on Monday, Sept. 15. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

For a parent there is little more painful than watching a child fight cancer. Now, a local facility is making it easier for children to cope with chemotherapy, and easing the burden for parents.

Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation on Monday celebrated the grand opening of its new play therapy room.

While most adults can verbalize their feelings and struggles, it's not easy for many children. The new room provides a safe space for children to freely express themselves.

Digging through miniature sand dunes with toy soldiers is one way 8-year-old Austin expresses himself. He was diagnosed with cancer when he was just 22 months old. He's been in remission for the past two years, and the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation has been there for his family the entire time.

Family therapist Dr. Sarah Haggerty said children use toys to verbalize their feelings.

"When they come in, whatever speaks to them they can grab and use to play with and show what's going on in their world or something they're struggling with," Haggerty said.

The room features a puppet theater, sandbox and play kitchen.

"When you see a child that may have a bald head, know that the family's been touched by childhood cancer. Candlelighters is there in our community, and all the dollars we raise in our community stay here to help those families," said Melissa Cipriano, executive director of the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Play therapy can be expensive, but the organization offers therapy services to families at no cost.

Candlelighters also provides financial assistance, covers travel expenses and provides meals to families affected by childhood cancer.

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