Childhood Cancer and Celebrity Joy – The Dragonfly Foundation Connection

Reprinted with permission from:

Written by Elaine Plummer, Author of Nurse Plummer Blog
June 26, 2016

Recently I had the pleasure of enjoying an early breakfast with my dear friend and respected colleague, Ria Davidson. Ria is co-founder of The Dragonfly Foundation, an organization whose mission is to bring comfort and joy to kids, young adults, and their families enduring cancer and bone marrow transplants. The Dragonfly Foundation serves patients, and their families, who are or have been treated at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Cancer and Blood Disease’s Institute, and works to enhance the inpatient experience at Dayton Children’s Hospital in Ohio and Lurie Children’s Hospital and Loyola Children’s Hospital in Chicago, IL. Quite a mission for sure, because the emotional and physical pain and anguish some families and kids can feel following diagnosis and long-term recovery, can last forever.

For information, please visit

Celebrity Involvement Important to The Dragonfly Foundation, Its Young Patients and Their Families! I asked Ria what the Dragonfly Foundation needed the most to support its ongoing programs and she said, more donations and more celebrity involvement. The support, validation and awareness that comes from having celebrities involved not only helps Dragonfly fulfill its mission in the best way, by bringing more donors (and contributions) to events, but enables the organization to arrange for celebs visit ill kids at partner hospitals, bringing the most joyful distraction and creating the best memories ever.

Joy has been proven to promote healing and wellness. Seeing the impact of cancer first hand, would influence and shape how celebrities spend their time and charitable efforts, guiding them to support Dragonfly! Unfortunately, I don’t personally know any tier-one, or even tier-two celebs, despite having been close to several. (One time, I stood next to Paul McCartney at a party and pretended we were dating, but he doesn’t remember. And, there was the time I was walking through a casino in Vegas with my mother, who was then about 88 years old, when she dashed through some slots and maneuvered past several very burly body guards to hug Adam Sandler. I am sure he remembers – my Mom, not me. All I did was thank him for being so nice and calling his guys down. There you go.) The Dragonfly Foundation needs help from generous and willing stars, starlets, TV personalities, comedians, sports figures, moguls, etc., simply because for young cancer patients and their families, time can be far too short, too boring, too isolating, and frankly, too scary to contemplate.

Joy Promotes Healing and Wellness. Dr. John Perentesis, Division Director of Oncology of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, shares how much joyful distractions can mean to both patients and families. He speaks about how important it is to cure the soul, heart and the spirit, along with treating the cancer with medicine. As he says, The Dragonfly Foundation is Dr. Parentesis’s trusted partner, because of how they touch children and families DAILY with their programs, engaging hospital events, and fun outings where Dragonfly families can feel a sense of normalcy. Listen to Dr. Perentesis tell the story himself.


Along with in-hospital support and fun events, The Dragonfly Foundation’s facility in Cincinnati (referred to as “The Landing”) is designed to offer ill kids and their families a place to hangout and meet others in similar circumstances. It brings them a safe haven where they can enjoy age appropriate toys, games, movies, crafts, and other activities. There are also huddle places where Dragonflies can sit quietly or take a quick nap. The Landing is a carefully monitored environment, with consideration to germ contamination, comfort, and privacy.

Fun times at the Landing

Helping can be more than a donation. Don’t get me wrong, financial contributions, new toys and electronic donations (i.e., video games, laptops, tablets, etc.) are extremely important to Dragonfly. The money helps to pay for urgently needed items and hospital requests, including gift cards for patients and families help them buy needed items, food, or even gas to go back and forth to see their hospitalized children, meal cards, emergency help for lives that are disrupted and jobs lost, computers to use while away from school, etc., etc. etc. The help I am asking for with this post is celebrity connections. Many of my Facebook Friends and other online friends and acquaintances have access to celebrities and we need help that only well-known and well-respected famous people can offer.

Please ask, because what you can do to help is really not that complicated or time consuming. I know first-hand that your faith and trust are well-placed with The Dragonfly Foundation.

 Dragonfly Picnic

We know that many celebrities want to give back to fans that continue to support their endeavors. And, we know the best way to reach them is through their agencies or the companies that hire them to promote their brands or businesses. All you have to do is ask their managers if they would be willing to visit ill kids at Cincinnati Children’s while they are in town The Dragonfly Foundation will manage the rest. The co-founders are experienced public relations professionals who can coordinate visits with their partner hospitals to make it as simple as possible for the celebrity and their handlers.

If a celeb you know will be in town at the same time as The Dragonfly Foundation’s annual Dragonfly Gala on February 11, 2017, perhaps the celeb could attend or perform, and help draw further community involvement to such an important cause and worthy organization.

Why do I care? About eight years ago, my granddaughter (I call her Matters, as in what Matters, Matters Matters) at the age of two was one of the youngest –and actually may have been THE youngest — child in the United States to be diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a blood cancer. She was admitted to Columbus, Ohio’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital for treatment. Matters was in a lot of leg pain due to the rapid production of immature white blood cells in her bones. We were scared, and I truly thought we would lose her. But, we didn’t, and today she is doing wonderfully.

Before her chemotherapeutic medication began working to its full extent, my granddaughter wasn’t walking because her legs hurt her. Despite our best attempts to motivate her, we could not get her to walk. Wonderful Ria drove up to Columbus and brought Matters a gift: a bubble machine. With bubbles blowing in the wind, Matters stood up and hesitatingly began chasing them. Yes, not surprisingly, Ria was bringing joy and comfort before Dragonfly.



For those of you looking for a Procter & Gamble connection to the Foundation, there are P&G families who have been recipients of Dragonfly’s joyful programs. Childhood cancer isn’t specific to any socio-economic, racial, or religious demographic. It can hit anyone with its powerful, ugly blow. And, P&G families are no different. Also to note, there are other P&G volunteers at Dragonfly.

Read the inspiring story about how Ria and her close friend, Christine, began The Dragonfly Foundation, after Christine and her husband Jim’s youngest son was diagnosed with cancer. Christine’s family received a lot of support at the time, but saw so many other families struggling alone trying manage the devastating diagnosis. Ria and Christine jumped in to help by creating The Dragonfly Foundation.

I hope you will jump in, too.

If you can help: If you can help, please contact Ria at the Dragonfly Foundation at: [email protected]