Cancer-free and back to school: Regence partners with Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on Welcome Back program for young cancer survivors transitioning from clinic to classroom

PORTLAND, Ore. — Through a grant from Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) is offering a program to help a special group of students return to school – childhood cancer survivors. The Welcome Back program helps parents and educators understand and address the physical, emotional and cognitive impact cancer treatment can have on learning.

“After about four years of treatment, my son Gage was ready to go back to school,” said Lauren Dole, mother of a young cancer survivor, “but I felt overwhelmed because I didn’t know how to communicate his needs to the school staff. The Welcome Back program, however, empowered me and gave me the support I needed to make returning to school a positive experience for Gage.”

The Welcome Back program addresses myriad challenges childhood cancer survivors often face when going back to school, such as long absences, medication side effects, changes in appearance and various learning challenges. The Regence-sponsored program is taking place in communities across Oregon, including Bend, Eugene, and Medford, and features two speakers:

1. Robert Butler, Ph.D., ABPP – Neuropsychologist and assistant professor at Oregon Health and Science University and an expert on the late effects of childhood cancer treatment.

2. Sue Sumpter, M.S., R.N. – Patient Services Manager at LLS, vice president of Candlelighters for Children with Cancer, and mother of a childhood cancer survivor.

“Regence supports the Welcome Back program because it is an invaluable resource for families of children with cancer and for the education community,” said Monique Barton, assistant director for community investment at Regence. “Going back to school is an exciting milestone for childhood cancer survivors, and the Welcome Back program provides critical support to ease a difficult transition.”

About Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon
Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon is a leading health plan in Oregon, with nearly one million members, offering health, life and dental insurance. Regence is the largest health insurer in the Northwest/ Intermountain Region, serving three million members as Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueShield (in Washington), Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield of Idaho. Each plan is a not-for-profit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of our members and our communities, and to transforming our health care system. For more information, please visit www.regence.com.