CAJEC is a house of love, a place where children’s dreams grow, a place where they have a fighting chance against aggressive cancers that have formed within their little bodies. This is the legacy left behind by a 16-year old boy who wanted a build a place where other children and teens who were also fighting cancer like himself can come and find refuge, a dream that came true thanks to the neighborhood friend, Maria Luiza Candido Centelles, founder and president of CAJEC – Casa (House of) José Eduardo Cavichio.
Donations received by CAJEC benefits children and teens of Latin America who need a place to stay while receiving life-saving chemotherapy, post-transplant care, and other therapies related to cancer treatment, free of charge to them and their families. Everything from lodging, food, clothes, transportation, treatment, and day to day needs are all provided by CAJEC so the only thing they need to worry about is getting better and back to a place of health and happiness. Donations are raised through corporate partnerships, personal donors, and through their Bazaar Shop, a storefront where visitors can purchase handmade goods made by their volunteers. The materials for their crafts are also donated – scrap fabrics and threads from local manufacturing plants that are transformed into beautiful keepsakes, household items, and inventive crafts such as jewelry holders and pot holders. During our visits to CAJEC, we were overwhelmed with emotions meeting the warm-hearted staff members and the beautiful children that embraced us almost immediately. On our first visit, we met a little girl who recently donated her hair for wigs for cancer patients, employees of Pitney Bowes who were there to donate chocolates for Easter celebration, a father who traveled from Bolivia to receive cancer treatment for his children, and volunteers who share CAJEC’s mission for love and kindness. On our second visit, we hosted a fun afternoon of arts and crafts as well as a birthday party complete with delicious cake! We look forward to visiting our friends at CAJEC again in the near future and continue to support their extraordinary, life-saving mission.