Tatum’s Bags of Fun is a 501c3 non-profit based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Their mission is to make a positive impact on the lives of every child diagnosed with cancer in Indiana (and beyond). They do this by supplying a backpack filled with $350 worth of age-appropriate games, toys, and activities ideal for a hospital setting. This helps to entertain and distract the children during their long and difficult battle with cancer. Each year almost 300 children are diagnosed with a form of cancer in Indiana alone and since August 2008, Tatum’s Bags of Fun has been able to distribute over 900 bags of fun to children throughout the state.
Tatum is the 11-yr old fifth grade student and a two-time cancer survivor that is behind this organization. In July 2006 Tatum was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone tumor, in her right femur. She endured 13 rounds of chemotherapy and 3 major surgeries. Tatum and her family received a tremendous amount of support from friends, family and the community during her treatment. One of the gifts she received was a “Bag of Fun” from the Gabby Krause Foundation in Colorado. Gabby lost her fight with cancer in 2004, but her family started the Gabby Krause Foundation in her memory and “Bags of Fun” was their signature project. Tatum and her family were so moved by the gift and the concept that they began speaking with the Krause’s about bringing Bags of Fun to Indiana. On August 1, 2008 a little over a year after Tatum completed her first battle with cancer, her family began distributing Bags of Fun.
Unfortunately Tatum was re-diagnosed with Ewing’s in November 2008, this time in her right lung. Even though this was another setback, Tatum remained positive and confident she would beat cancer again. Bags of Fun also provided an opportunity for Tatum to personally deliver Bags of Fun to her new friends that she would be fighting with. Tatum completed her treatments in September 2009 and has remained cancer free!
Each Bag of Fun is provided to pediatric cancer patients free of charge and is theirs to keep. The bags are delivered weekly to several Indiana hospitals. Through an arrangement with the hospital, Tatum’s Bags of Fun receives a list of new patients including their ages and initials. This allows them to abide by HIPPA regulations and ensure that each child receives just one bag filled with items that are age appropriate. If the patient has a sibling, a game or toy is also provided to them. With toys and activities that are chosen by same age children, the Bags of Fun provides a way for kids to keep busy and happy during their hospital visits.
On the organization’s blog, you can see some thank yous that have been sent. One mom said that it made her daughter’s day to get such a wonderful gift and another bag recipient said “no words that I can explain my appreciation and thanks”.
Monetary donations can be made directly on the organization’s website.