Childhood Cancer Society (CCS) is a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to helping families who are struggling with childhood cancer. From financial support to providing gifts/wish grants, our efforts help families battling pediatric cancer maintain a mindset that is conducive to healing.
CCS’s wish grants are fulfilled through its Adventure Ted Program. Adventure Ted is the official spokes-bear of the foundation and he journeys around helping families overcome their challenges while maintaining a positive mindset. Within the Adventure Ted Program is The Enchanted Theme Park Vacation Experience. This is an all-expenses paid VIP Disney/ Universal Theme Park Vacation with 5 star lodging for a week at Give Kids The World Village.
Our organization receives its support requests through our vetted network of social workers at hospitals we have partnered with throughout the USA.
Childhood Cancer Society (CCS) began with the vision of a 7-year-old boy, Tommy Head, who realized the importance of having the support of family while being evaluated for childhood leukemia. This was a life changing experience, which at a young age was the impetus for later founding CCS.
Due to his condition, Tommy’s physical activities were limited for years. During this time, he found an outlet in acting. He was featured in numerous commercials, print ads, and appeared in several episodes of ABC’s One Life to Live and became a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). At 12 years old, he used the proceeds from his first commercial to make a donation of video game consoles at the hospital that cared for him during his health challenges, and noticed the impact that these pleasant distractions had on his pediatric peers. It was at that moment that Tommy knew he would be helping more of these families in the future.
By 16, Tommy’s platelet count fully recovered, and given what felt like a second chance, he used money earned from acting to found Childhood Cancer Society.
FROM OUR FOUNDER
I’m Tommy Head, founder and CEO of Childhood Cancer Society, a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. From a young age I have always felt a strong motivation to help people; your visiting our website shows me that you are the same and I welcome your support.
When I was seven, Fate dealt me what felt like my first real test in life. All of a sudden, I began bruising very easily. My arms, shins and legs all started to develop bruises without any clear source of injury. After a battery of tests, I was diagnosed with a severely low platelet count, which is indicative of leukemia. For several months my platelet count was watched. As it continued to plummet I was unable to participate in many activities that other kids my age enjoyed. Doctors thought that I might have leukemia, but after a series of tests and weekly blood work we discovered that I had ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura) which simply stated, is an unknown reason for the platelet count to drop. Although thankful that I did not have leukemia, my family’s worries were not put to rest. With no known treatment, my parents and I felt helpless. Given this new health issue my physical activities were severely limited, which would be difficult for any seven-year-old kid. Luckily, I have great parents who have supported me in everything that I do. I know this support was a major contributing factor in my recovery.
From the age of seven until about twelve I made regular visits to Hackensack Hospital to get blood work, and would see many of the pediatric oncology patients and their families. These kids were my age (some even younger) and were fighting for their lives. Seeing the test of faith that these families endured made me mature in ways that are difficult to articulate. I watched fathers shaving their heads for their four-year-old sons and mothers weeping privately so as to keep a brave face for their child. Needless to say, emotions ran high, and the impact of these courageous families has continued to motivate me to this day.
Although I struggled with ITP, I continued going to school, eventually played limited sports again, and found myself interested in acting. Since my sports were limited, acting was an excellent outlet for me to express myself and to further expand upon my already highly developed imagination. I began by going to a comedy camp one summer, followed by a drama camp the next year. The following year I landed a part in a local play. It was there that I met people who put me in touch with an acting management company. I’ve been signed with them since I was twelve and have done numerous commercials, educational videos, some daytime drama shows, and am a member of SAG and AFTRA. My parents were always honest with me about the money I made from acting (which is not typical of many parents in the business) and told me to save the money until I had a true need to use it. I knew that one day I would use this money to help people.
After my first commercial, I donated the money that I earned from acting to Tomorrows Children’s Fund in Hackensack, NJ and purchased video game consoles and titles for the patients at the center. I remembered that when I was a kid and needed to make regular hospital visits at the height of my illness, I always looked forward to getting a toy on the way home. I hoped to give other patients at the hospital who were less fortunate than I the same sense of positive anticipation. Many of the families I saw were severely impacted by their child’s struggle with cancer, and suffered financially due to medical expenses. At the time, I remembered wanting my donation to help in a way that would truly mean something to the patients. At twelve-years-old, the best way that I knew how to make that impact was to distract them from their treatment, and offer them the simple-but-effective amusement of video games. After this first donation, I knew that I would be doing more in the future.
For no apparent reason, my platelet count eventually surged above the critical level and is now well within the normal range. It felt like a miracle, and I decided from that point forward to make it count. Children are diagnosed with cancer all too frequently. Oftentimes their parents are not able to afford proper medical care, and sometimes even the basic necessities their child deserves. I decided to make it my mission to see that these children receive proper care and are provided with accommodations to make their struggle with cancer a tolerable one. In February of 2006, I founded Childhood Cancer Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to directly helping families struggling with childhood cancer.
Since its inception people like you have given me the opportunity to raise money to help many families struggling with childhood cancer. With your continued help and support, my goal is to expand our impact and be able to fill more patient requests across the country. Please feel free to explore our site and consider making a donation to show your support. These funds will be allocated to families who need help in meeting their children’s needs.
It seems like just yesterday that my hematologist was giving my family news that would forever change our lives for the worse. Today I am founder of Childhood Cancer Society & Adventure Ted; a professional actor/author; a NYU Stern Graduate; a friend and loved one to many; and I’m just getting started. My life’s work is to touch the lives of as many people as possible and to show those who are struggling that some things cannot be quantified, and the power of hope is one of those things.
Thank you for your support. Together, we can truly make a difference in the lives of these children & their families.
Thomas M. Head
Childhood Cancer Society Founder
189 Berdan Ave #221
Wayne, NJ 07470