”Shift the frequency of the planet”

On Sept. 29, a small troop gathered at the snowman on Burnham Road in Oak View. A fairly famous character locally, the Burnham Road concrete snowman is now masked and costumed for the pandemic following a moment of inspiration. 

Lucy McDaniel, known to many in her previous role as children’s hair stylist Lucy in the Sky, was inspired by a teary-eyed question from her 10-year-old grandson, Tucker Wheatley. 

“He was worried about Santa Claus,” said McDaniel, adding that Tucker asked “Will he have to wear a COVID mask when he comes down the chimney?” She responded that she didn’t know, but she did have a way to lighten the air a bit now. 

McDaniel thought this small gesture of fun might “Shift the frequency of the planet . . . lighten up the planet and keep [us] smiling, even if it’s under your mask.” 

— Kimberly Rivers

Support for families facing cancer during pandemic

Andy Casas of Moorpark. Photo submitted.

There are numerous challenges a family faces when a child is diagnosed with cancer. For some, the pandemic has introduced additional factors: job loss or insecurity, financial hardship and yet more health concerns and added stress. Since March, the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF) has ramped up its services to provide additional financial, educational and emotional support in the face of COVID-19.

Rent and mortgage assistance, grocery gift cards and meal and package delivery have helped meet food and shelter needs, while tutoring has helped ensure school-age children can make the most of their education. Direct financial assistance and therapy have also been provided. And because kids and their families need fun, too, TBCF has organized a variety of virtual events for safe entertainment.

“We have had so much support from Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation that I cannot even imagine what it would have been like not to have them by our side,” said Teresa Casas of Moorpark, whose son, Andy, nearly lost his leg to high grade osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer. 

The foundation serves families throughout San Luis Obisbop, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and has helped 31 local families affected by both cancer and the economic impacts of COVID-19. 

For more information and to donate, visit www.teddybearcancerfoundation.org.

Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer