Our son, Brandon Kozak, is a Nursing Assistant at Nationwide Children's hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He works there in the Hematology/Oncology/BMT unit, while he himself is also battling cancer.
Please read his story:
"I started working as a caregiver in Nationwide Children's Oncology/Hematology Department in March of 2020. Within days of my start, the COVID outbreak was declared a pandemic, requiring the staff at Nationwide Children's to take extra safety precautions. These precautions limited patient visits, reduced toy donations, and eliminated many of the other comforts that my coworkers and I could provide to support our patients and their families. When patients are with their family, or playing and focusing on a creative task, their mood improves, and you can see the joy on their faces.
However, COVID protocols limit family interactions and this has made supporting their playtime even more important. Specifically, the patients enjoy toys, Legos, drawing, coloring books, etc...
Being happy gives the patients, and also all who love and interact with them, hope.
My experience with cancer is not limited to my role as a caregiver at Nationwide Children's. In 2017, I lost my grandfather after his twenty-two-year battle with cancer. Other family members are currently in treatment or remission. Personally, my first battle with cancer was in college, and I am currently in my second battle with cancer.
Keeping my mind busy with work and classes helps me endure the treatments and remain hopeful. Likewise, play helps the patient’s battling cancer, as well as their families, maintain hope. I share my story to inspire others to support efforts to give the patients hope by helping to provide toys and supplies to support their need to play. Making a difference for others has given me hope."
Thank you for taking the time to read Brandon's story.
As an employee, Brandon is not able to personally solicit donations for Nationwide Children's Hospital. So, we, Alan and Sharon, are asking you to consider supporting Hearts of Gold during this September as it is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
Thank you for your help and thank you for your hope.
Alan & Sharon Kozak