Each year, about 25 children ring the “End of Treatment Bell” at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Pediatric Oncology Center, signifying the end of their chemotherapy treatment. Seven years ago, another tradition came about to help these amazing kids celebrate their last round of chemo and give hope to others still battling cancer.
The Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins team in Tampa Bay has worked with St. Joseph’s to offer a custom ice cream cake to each child to honor this significant milestone in their life. The idea was sparked by Dunkin’ Field Marketing Manager, Betsy Beck, who shared that the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation has an ongoing partnership with St. Joseph’s and supports many events with them throughout the year. After visiting the hospital during these other events, Betsy wanted to come up with a way to celebrate each child in a special way.
When there is a patient who is on their way to finishing treatment, the amazing staff at St. Joseph’s will ask for their favorite ice cream flavor, favorite colors and any specific interests they have that they’d like to see come to life on their custom cake. It could be anything from a favorite cartoon character to their favorite sport, and the local Tampa Bay Baskin-Robbins will enlist their cake artist to develop the design and ensure the cake is incredibly personal and special for each child.
“A lot of times, the way the cake is decorated is a surprise to the child. They are always so excited to see the cake and its unique decorations,” said Hannah Sewell, Certified Child Life Specialist at St. Joseph’s. “When the cakes are presented to the child, there is an ice cream party thrown in their honor for medical staff who took care of the patient as well as the patient’s family.”
After several years of the tradition, Beck said, “the best part isn’t just getting to celebrate the child who is finishing, but to give hope to the other kids who are still going through treatment.” It’s a unique and heartwarming event that both the kids and staff look forward to.
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