(Madera, CA) - Less than one week after graduating high school, Valley Children’s childhood cancer survivor Julian Castaneda is already changing the world for the better. In 2018, Julian started Bags of Love as a club at his high school to raise money to create bags to give to cancer patients to make their lives a little easier. A year later, “Bags of Love Foundation” became a full-fledged nonprofit focused on helping kids going through cancer by providing them support and love. On Monday, June 3, Julian presented Bags of Love Foundation’s first $500 Childhood Cancer Scholarship Award to Miguel Contreras, a fellow Valley Children’s childhood cancer survivor.
With two battles with leukemia under his belt, Julian knows better than anyone what childhood cancer patients have to face and go through. This Bakersfield resident made it his mission to help kids who are going through extensive treatments for life threatening diseases, including cancer, by providing the support needed to get through it all.
Miguel Contreras is also no stranger to the effects of childhood cancer. Miguel was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer which led to amputation below his right knee. Now, the 22-year-old is attending College of the Sequoias to become a nurse.
“I know how after all the [cancer] treatments and costs, it’s hard to pay for college,” said Julian. “I wanted to do more and provide financial support for other cancer patients.”
“This is a perfect example of our cancer survivors getting connected, getting involved and giving back,” explained Alistair Robertson, Valley Children’s Pediatric Oncology Social Worker. “Julian’s nonprofit encourages people to do their part to give hope to those who need it most and he is undoubtedly leading by example.”
In addition to presenting Miguel with Bags of Love Foundation’s first childhood cancer scholarship award, Julian also gifted hats and other items to Valley Children’s oncology patients.
Learn more about Miguel’s story here.