UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and Yoursphere.com have teamed up to create the first of its kind interactive web community that allows young cancer patients and survivors to connect with peers all over the world.
"Kids' Cancer Corner" provides children who have been diagnosed with cancer and their support groups a rich social networking experience that is content- and age-appropriate and complies with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).
The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center's Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Advisory Board helped develop the Kids' Cancer Corner, offering ideas for content, games and video clips. The board will maintain the site and keep it interesting with frequent updates and new offerings.
"Children with cancer often feel isolated because they may not be able to go to school, and friends might feel uncomfortable around them," says Marlene M. von Friederichs-Fitzwater, director of the Outreach Research and Education Program for the cancer center. "They tell us they also feel 'different' and 'weird.' That's why we are so excited about Yoursphere, a website where kids with cancer like themselves can help them feel less alone and where activities can help take their minds off the disease."
Kirolles "Cookie" Gendi was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma at age 9. He said he understands how valuable the new online community will be for children diagnosed with cancer.
"My world was turned upside down," said Gendi, now 23 and a UC Davis graduate. "All of a sudden, I couldn't play sports anymore. I wished I would have had a way like this to connect with other kids with cancer."
Azadeh Afkhami, also a childhood cancer survivor and volunteer at the cancer center, agreed. "It would make it much easier to share your journey with other kids going through their own experiences," she said.
Yoursphere.com is produced by Yoursphere Media Inc., a Davis, Calif.-based company that is a respected leader in children's social networking. Yoursphere provides young people with the activities they love -- chatting with friends, sharing interests, posting videos, playing games, winning prizes and more -- in an environment that respects privacy and educates its community about online safety, cyberbullying and other important issues.
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center collaborated with Yoursphere.com to create Kids' Cancer Corner as a place where young people and families affected by a cancer diagnosis can safely communicate as they navigate their illness and survivorship. Here, they can get mentorship and other resources helpful for healing and access games and other activities offered by Yoursphere.
UC Davis has the only cancer center in all of Inland Northern California that has been designated as a "comprehensive" center by the National Cancer Institute. The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is dedicated to breaking barriers to beat cancer through innovative research, compassionate and leading-edge care and effective community outreach and education.
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the latest to exclusively choose to align with Yoursphere Media to provide their privately labeled social network community -- Kids' Cancer Corner -- via Yoursphere. The Kids' Cancer Corner is a unique destination for young oncology patients, family members, supporters and friends by:
o Extending the in-person friendships made among children in the hospital or infusion center via this network
o Enabling kids to learn and share with friends and family in a safe, like-minded, nurturing environment
o Connecting young people with peers going through similar experiences
o Letting kids share stories, offer words of inspiration and support
o Offering the broader Yoursphere experience beyond the Kids Cancer Corner including games, personal web page creation (spheres), contests, philanthropy, etc.
The AYA advisory board plans to add a "cancer buddy" component to Kids' Cancer Corner allowing children who are newly diagnosed with cancer to select a trained adolescent or young adult cancer survivor to be their peer navigator through their experience.
"Children dealing with cancer often want to hear stories about and meet survivors who successfully completed treatment," says von Friederichs-Fitzwater, who chairs of the AYA advisory board. "Survivors also benefit from the satisfaction of giving back."
About Yoursphere Media, Inc.
Yoursphere Media, Inc. focuses on the family and publishes Yoursphere.com and YoursphereForParents.com. Yoursphere is the kids-only social network and social media solution provider for youth brands, non-profits and corporations that care about young people, their privacy and online safety. Yoursphere offers its members the best of the Internet while providing a vibrant and interactive experience that supports their talents and aspirations. Kids share interests through Yoursphere's innovative "spheres," interact with other kids, benefit from a scholarship program, can create their own blog, play hundreds of games and explore a virtual world. Member safety and privacy come first through the application of commonsense safeguards and compliance with the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Yoursphere teaches kids to be "Internet safety smart" and rewards responsible online citizenship. Free and exclusively for children and teens through age 17, Yoursphere is approved by the Privacy Vaults Online Safe Harbor of the Federal Trade Commission. Founder and President Mary Kay Hoal is a nationally recognized Internet safety expert who also provides safety-focused practical technology tools and tips for parents at YoursphereForParents.com. For more information, visit http://yoursphere.com
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 9,000 adults and children every year, and access to more than 150 clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 280 scientists at UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Jackson Laboratory (JAX West), whose scientific partnerships advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Through the Cancer Care Network, UC Davis collaborates with a number of hospitals and clinical centers throughout the Central Valley and Northern California regions to offer the latest cancer care. Its community-based outreach and education programs address disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations. For more information, visit cancer.ucdavis.edu.