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Cancer Patients "Take a Pop" at The Nebraska Medical Center

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Posted 10/13/2014

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Pediatric Patients "Cool It" Between Cancer Treatments

Six year old Thomas Kosinski prefers the pink ones. When he reaches into the colorful freezer chest in the cancer treatment center, he looks for those first.

"It makes the day a little bit easier," said Thomas' mom Cara. "When we come for treatment, we spend the whole day down here. At this point, a smile is better than anything."

Kids' smiles were the main motivation when the Jel Sert Company began a program in conjunction with the American Childhood Cancer Organization several years ago. They began distributing 100 ice pop freezers to 100 different hospitals that treat pediatric oncology patients.

The ice pops provide more than just a sweet treat.

"Sometimes the patients are nauseous and eating can be an issue," said Debbie Wagers, child life specialist at The Nebraska Medical Center. "The chemotherapy can affect their taste buds. The popsicles have a nice gentle flavor and they can still taste the sweetness of it. Everybody loves popsicles. Who doesn't love a popsicle?"

The Kosinskis who make regular trips to Omaha from their home in South Dakota for Thomas' brain cancer treatment. Even something as small as a free ice pop can make a big impact.

"It helps tremendously. Every little bit helps no child should have to go through this," Cara Kosinski said. "So to be able to reach in there and grab an ice pop adds a little happiness to the day. And it's definitely welcome happiness."

"As many of those positive experiences as we can provide for the kids to counterbalance the negative things like chemo and the pokes they take, the better off they're going to be," said Wagers.