When Nikki Ferraro, founder of Bite Me Cancer, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 17, she felt that there was no appropriate support for her as a teenager. Her goal in distributing the Bite Me Cancer Teen Support Bags is to provide teenagers battling cancer with the kind of support and inspiration that she wasn't given.
Inside each bag is a variety of teen-appropriate items hand-picked by Nikki (after consultation with the Bite Me Cancer Teen Support Committee, oncology staff, doctors and other teenagers). Items include: stress ball, baseball cap, water bottle, iTunes gift card, USB drive, game book, Bite Me Cancer car magnet, and more.
Nikki also wanted there to be additional resources for those teens battling cancer, so the foundation has developed and is still developing other programs such as a private Facebook group for teenagers with cancer and also one for parents of teens with cancer.
WHY do we support teens with cancer?
They don't fit within the general pediatric patient groups.
Many aren't comfortable in the traditional "young adult" groups that range from ages 18-39.
Cancer diagnosis among teenagers is on the rise, and they need support.
Nikki knows what it felt like when she couldn’t find the appropriate support for herself.
WHERE do we support teens with cancer?
By distributing the teen support bags, called "A Bit of Bite Me Cancer", to inspire these special survivors through many hospitals and organizations such as:
INOVA Fairfax Hospital, Oncology Unit, VA
National Institutes of Health, MD
Johns Hopkins University Hospital, MD
MD Anderson Cancer Center, TX
Virginia Commonwealth University, Hospital, VA
Nationwide Children’s Hospital, OH
Duke University Children’s Hospital, NC
Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, FL and NJ
All Children’s Hospital, FL
Special Love Foundation, VA
"Bite Me Cancer Cares" private Facebookgroup
"Bite Me Cancer Caregivers" for parents of teens with cancer private Facebook group
WHAT are people saying about the teen support bags?
From a thankful teen battling cancer:
"I am 18 years old. I had surgery yesterday. It was a 5 hour procedure, and the only support I
found in the hospital was your bag; and it meant so much to me."
From a grateful hospital staff person about a struggling teen with cancer:
"She wasn't interested in participating or engaging with many other cancer-related groups
because she felt like their depiction of cancer was not accurate." She said things like
“people with cancer don't always smile like that" and would refuse the resource.
The intern and CCLS realized they had just the perfect thing for this patient---
a Bite Me Cancer bag and its amenities. Sure enough when they delivered the goodies,
the patient immediately responded to it. It matched where she was at with the diagnosis
From a hospital staff person:
"We have been using the bags a lot and the teens have responded so well to them. It's by far
one of the most well received resources we have for them."
From the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Unit at a hospital:
"As a unit that gets a lot of donations for patients, the teens have been excited to receive
something specifically designed for them!! Instead of markers and coloring books accompanied
by Play-Doh, they get cool water bottles, stickers, and other items with a more age appropriate
slogan: "Bite Me Cancer." I hope that Nikki and her family are able to continue to provide
these wonderful bags for teens in the future since unfortunately, there will be a need for them."
HOW do we obtain our funding for the "A Bit of Bite me Cancer" support bags?