BOSTON, MA, US – When children are battling a serious illness like cancer, a little joy can go a long way and that’s why Dunkin’ is shining gold this September for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Today, the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation announced more than $2 million in grants for organizations supporting kids battling serious illnesses such as cancer. The total amount includes $1 million for Dunkin’ Connecting Joy, a new initiative announced today to launch or enhance gaming programs at hospitals with pediatric patients. Grants also include $1 million to the Jimmy Fund for pediatric cancer research and additional grants focused on support for childhood cancer patients.
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is a time to raise awareness of kids affected by cancer and the need for treatment, care, and joy to brighten their spirits. The Foundation is marking the occasion with initiatives meant to educate people about this critical issue while also providing funding and support.
“Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is a time to shine a light on pediatric cancer and support children and their families when they’re faced with a diagnosis,” said Victor Carvalho, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation. “That’s why Dunkin’ is shining gold during this important month. We’re committed to helping organizations focused on pediatric cancer bring joy to their patients, not just during this special month, but throughout the year. Our new Dunkin’ Connecting Joy gaming program will allow hospitals to provide a fun distraction for their pediatric patients. Gaming has been shown have a positive impact on patients by alleviating pain and anxiety.”
The Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation’s newest initiative, Dunkin’ Connecting Joy, will help bring gaming experiences to thousands of pediatric patients nationwide. Due to the pandemic, hospitals around the country have had to enact new, but isolating, social distancing measures, while simultaneously dealing with lower budgets for child life services. According to CureSearch, more than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year. Even before the pandemic, children facing cancer and other serious illnesses felt separated from friends, family, and “normal” life. The past year and a half has only made things more challenging. Virtual programming like gaming is a way for pediatric patients to work on their cognitive skills, gain a sense of mastery and control, better cope with their hospitalization, and perhaps most importantly, have fun.
Organizations can apply for grants from the Dunkin’ Joy In Childhood Foundation specifically targeted to their needs, whether introducing gaming to their hospital or to enhancing what they already offer. This can include adding a gaming child life specialist to their staff, purchasing systems, funding connectivity, or offering virtual programming to connect children and teens with other patients in other hospitals. Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital were awarded the first Dunkin’ Connecting Joy grants. Organizations interested in applying for a Dunkin’ Connecting Joy grant can learn more at www.bringjoy.org.
“We know hospitals can be a challenging place for children and teens, but our gaming program helps to create a healing environment and offers them an escape from the hard stuff where they get to be kids and have fun,” said Maximillian Williams, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital’s Gaming Specialist. “This grant from the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation means we can continue to offer this important service for our patients and ensure we have the latest gaming technology and virtual programming.”
This initiative will extend to Dunkin’s Twitch Rivals Official Marketing Partnership, where Maximillian will join a Twitch Rivals livestreamed tournament with the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation to celebrate the launch of Dunkin’ Connecting Joy. In addition to Minecraft gameplay, viewers will learn more on the Foundation’s mission to bring joy to kids battling hunger or illness. Dunkin’ will also gift subs (subscriptions) to select audience members. Viewers can tune in on September 30 at 5 p.m. EDT at www.twitch.tv/twitchrivals.
In addition to launching Dunkin’ Connecting Joy with $1 million in grants, the Foundation has other initiatives to drive awareness and support young cancer patients during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month:
- Jimmy Fund Donation: The Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation will grant $1 million to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for pediatric cancer research focused on targeted treatment to the specific genetic characteristic of a patient’s cancer. The grant will be celebrated on September 18 during a game at Fenway Park.
- Local Grants: In June, Dunkin’ offered a “Gold Joy” Donut in select regions to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer. The fundraiser raised $245,000, and grants will be announced in September.
- Gift Cards: Between September 1-30, 2021, consumers can purchase the Dunkin’ Childhood Cancer Awareness Month gift card at www.giftcards.dunkindonuts.com. For every $25 in gift cards purchased, Dunkin’ will give $5 to the Dunkin’ Joy In Childhood Foundation, up to $70,000, to help bring joy to kids battling hunger or illness.
The Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation’s mission is to provide the simple joys of childhood to kids battling hunger or illness. It has granted more than $30 million since its inception in 2006 and will grant $7 million this year. To learn more about the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation, including its Dogs for Joy and Teen Prom programs, visit www.bringjoy.org and follow on Facebook or Instagram.
About the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation
The Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation, the charitable foundation supported by Dunkin’ and the generosity of its franchisees, guests, vendor partners and employees, provides the simple joys of childhood to kids battling hunger or illness. The Foundation partners with food banks, children’s hospitals and nonprofit organizations to fund joyful environments and joyful experiences for kids when they need it most. Since 2006, the Joy in Childhood Foundation has granted more than $30 million to hundreds of national and local charities across the country. For more information, please visit www.bringjoy.org.