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Moores UCSD Cancer Center to Offer 'Light One Little Candle' Book Program


November 06, 2006  |  

Program encourages parents undergoing treatment to read to their children Children’s classics available in English and Spanish; also selections for other cultures

Guadalupe Norma Costanzino, 41 of Carmel Valley, was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, soon after her daughter, Isabella, was born. Throughout her treatment, which continues today, Norma has read to Isabella every night, in Spanish. Husband, caregiver and father Dominic also reads to Isabella, in English. Reading time has helped this family to bond and to cope with Norma’s illness, they say. “This is our special time,” Norma said.  “Even if she has felt insecure or scared for me during the day, she knows we will have our story time that night.”

The Costanzino family’s experience is not unlike that of Joelle Pauporte, the founder of the Light One Little Candle Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes reading as a means for parents and caregivers with cancer to connect with their children.

Now Light One Little Candle (LOLC) has partnered with the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego to distribute new children's books to patients through the cancer center’s Patient and Family Education Center.

The program officially opens on November 15 with a kick-off event from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center, 3855 Health Sciences Drive. Guests will learn about the program, how to make donations and how to volunteer. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served and parking is $1/hour.

Patients may each select a book to bring home to their family from the Light One Little Candle book cart, which was donated by the Third Thursday Book Club in memory of a member. The book is theirs to keep. Patients and caregivers are encouraged to write notes about the story or the experience of reading together on a special Light One Little Candle bookplate pasted in the book, creating a keepsake for their children to turn to again and again. 

“What a wonderful program this is to bring to our families,” said Natalie Wilson, LCSW, Community Health Program Manager at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. “We’re also excited that the national president of the LOLC Foundation, Lee Rosenberg, will be coming to our kick-off event to help us launch the program and share some of her experiences with families touched by LOLC.”

Children’s classics, including Goodnight Moon,Charlotte’s Web, Where the Wild Things Are and Madeline, as well as numerous other stories, are available in both English and Spanish. There are also selections written in English but geared to different cultures such as The Way Meat Loves Salt: A Cinderella Tale From The Jewish Tradition, The Sea King’s Daughter: A Russian Legend, The Sons of The Dragon King: A Chinese Legend, and Sweet Music in Harlem.

“The LOLC Foundation has provided 100 books, and Warwick’s Books of La Jolla has donated $200 in books,” said Shirley Tulin, a retired social worker and volunteer who is spearheading the local LOLC program. “Warwick’s is also giving a 20 percent discount on purchases of books to be donated to the program. This is a terrific start, but we will need ongoing donations.”

To make a donation or to purchase books for Light One Little Candle at the cancer center, interested individuals can visit the LOLC Web site at www.lightonelittlecandle.org.

The Light One Little Candle Foundation was created by Joelle Pauporte, a young mother, doctor and terminal breast cancer patient, who learned that no matter how sick, exhausted or overwhelmed she felt, she and her daughter found comfort sitting together and reading. In partnership with cancer treatment centers, new children’s books with a special bookplate for writing notes are given to those who are undergoing treatment.

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Media Contact:  Nancy Stringer, 619-543-6163, nstringer@ucsd.edu

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