B Yourself: aTeam Ministries


B YourselfWhat is the mission of your ministry?

aTeam Ministries is a 501(c)(3) organization committed to offering spiritual, financial, and emotional support through a variety of programs to children and their families within the pediatric cancer community. Thus, we are trying to live out the spiritual mandate found in 2 Corinthians 1:3–5: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which ourselves are comforted by God.”

 

How was the name of your ministry discovered?

In January 2009, our son, Anderson, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at 16 months of age. Shortly after he was diagnosed, Anderson was asked to participate as an honorary child in a local walk raising money for cancer research. As we learned more about the event, we decided to create a team of family and friends to participate. The name of the team was “The aTeam.” As we continued in the pediatric cancer journey with Anderson, we learned more about how the diagnosis of cancer affects not only the child diagnosed but the entire family, especially siblings.  Our daughter, Avery, had endured so much of the journey as well. When we created aTeam Ministries in December 2009, we realized that the name “aTeam” should not stand for one person or child but for all children, siblings, and families affected by pediatric cancer. We also learned that the treatment journey is long and required the support of many people. Therefore, it takes “a team” of family members, friends, doctors, and nurses to help along the way.

 

aTeam is not only a charity, but also offers support programs for families of children with cancer. Can you tell us more about those support programs?

Our goal at aTeam Ministries is to share Christ’s love with those in need. These programs are specifically based around giving the patients and their families spiritual, financial, and emotional support during their journey with pediatric cancer. A few of our programs include the prayer team, Financial Assistance Program, and Home Away from Home Program.  Our prayer team prays for the children and families by name in our prayer journal on a weekly basis.  The Financial Assistance Program offers financial assistance to families for things like utility bills, experimental therapy, car repairs, and travel back and forth to doctor and clinic appointments.

One of our most needed programs is the Home Away From Home Program. This is where we offer temporary housing for families from outside the Birmingham area who are required to stay in Birmingham for long or short periods of time. We have been able to house numerous bone marrow transplant patients who, once they complete the transplant process, are required to stay in the Birmingham area within 15 minutes of the hospital for a minimum of 60–90 days. Our two apartments are located in Homewood and maintained so that these children who are immune-compromised can stay in a “home away from home” while they go through the recovery process.

 

How can our readers volunteer or donate?

The best way to contact us about a volunteer opportunity or to make a donation is to visit our website at www.ateamministries.org. You can also like our Facebook page. where we post regular updates and volunteer opportunities.

 

And what about that upcoming fundraiser?

aTeam’s Heart 2 HeART program supports children with pediatric cancer by pairing them with well-known and talented professional artists in an effort to celebrate and inspire them. By being given the opportunity to create art, these children are aided in expressing their journey with cancer, an important part of their healing process. The impactful works that the children create are done with the help and instruction of a professional artist and in that artist’s signature style. In addition to the art created by the children, their professional artist partner creates a work inspired by the child. This work again celebrates the life and journey of the child, fulfilling aTeam’s goal of support and encouragement for these brave children. aTeam truly appreciates the work of the professional artists as their gracious donation of time is truly inspirational and has lasting effect on the children. These inspired works are presented and sold by both live and silent auctions at aTeam’s annual Heart 2 HeArt event. This year’s Heart 2 HeART Event is Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, at Ted’s Garage in downtown Birmingham from 6–9 p.m. Reservations can be made at www.ateamministries.org/reservations.

 

Interview and photograph by Angela Karen

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