Carley’s Closet was started in 2011, when 15-year-old Carley Rutledge was diagnosed with cancer and saw the great need for adolescent and young adult (AYA) support as it related to her own cancer care at a children’s hospital.
Carley’s Closet focuses on the AYA cancer population (ages 11-39) and Pediatric Sarcoma families in both children’s and adult medical centers. We offer New Diagnosis Bags for patients that include items like beanies, games, headphones, Bluetooth speakers, journals, gift cards, and other age-appropriate items. We also provide soft blankets, Christmas stockings, coloring books, and other items to make the patient’s stay in the hospital comfortable and more like home. Carley’s Closet is a unique program that helps these young patients know that they are not alone.
“As a young college student, my cancer diagnosis completely flipped my life upside down. I love children, and the thought of not having a family broke my heart. Preserving my fertility helped ease the heartbreak. I now have a future to look forward to.”
Loss of fertility is a significant side-effect of cancer treatment for patients diagnosed during their reproductive years and a source of considerable emotional distress. In partnership with Moncrief Cancer Institute, Rutledge Cancer Foundation helped pioneer a community-wide Onco-Fertility Preservation Program. The program includes fertility preservation education, care coordination, and financial assistance for medical procedures for those who qualify.
Research has proven that cancer patients who exercise during and after treatment have better outcomes. FitSteps for Life® is a medically supervised fitness program dedicated to providing cancer patients and survivors with education, support and most importantly, hope for a healthier future. Clinical exercise specialists work directly with each patient to provide an individualized exercise plan based on their diagnosis and physical capabilities. FitSteps was brought to Fort Worth by Rutledge Cancer Foundation and is offered free of charge thanks to RCF supporters.
“My cup was full from my connection with these incredible people, and from the reminder that I CAN do the things that I love to do while still in cancer treatment.”
First Descents provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults (ages 18-39) impacted by cancer and other serious health conditions. The Wyatt Donahue and Lawson Penny Memorials at Rutledge Cancer Foundation fund First Descents travel scholarships to give young adults the opportunity to experience the healing power of adventure.
Young adults are more susceptible to delayed diagnoses. There is little to no emphasis on prevention and early detection. ``I didn't even know that young people our age could get cancer...`` -Monica, 16
Teens and young adults are already faced with numerous pressure filled decisions and challenges ranging from going to and graduating college, starting their career, getting married, buying a home and supporting a family. But every year, roughly 70,000 hear, ``YOU HAVE CANCER.``
Young adults can receive cancer treatment in a Pediatric Hospital or an Adult Hospital. But they don't belong in either. They have social, medical and psychosocial needs that differ from children and older adults, including: How their treatment will affect their fertility. How they can continue to support their family. How they'll maintain insurance. How to live with a new normal.
The end of cancer treatment is the beginning of healing and a new normal. This includes careful long-term follow-up with your medical team and making healthy life choices to remain strong. It is important to be knowledgeable and watchful for potential side effects from your treatment. While physical health is important, emotional and psychological health is essential to full recovery.