Comfort…Until a Cure
Lucy’s Love Bus Provides Relief and Support for Families Suffering from Childhood Cancer
It is almost impossible to describe the anguish a child endures while undergoing cancer treatment. In an effort to help, Lucy’s Love Bus in Amesbury is providing relief for both families and children contending with life-threatening illnesses by offering services that ease the side effects of harsh treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.
The organization’s founder, Lucy Grogan, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia when she was 8 years old, and she battled this rare, aggressive disease for four years before her death in 2006. While undergoing her own cancer treatment, Lucy recognized how severely these medicative therapies affected other children.
Lucy’s mother, Beecher Grogan, recalls a time they were at Tufts Floating Hospital in Boston’s Chinatown. “She asked me, ‘If I’m in Chinatown, why can’t I get acupuncture here?’ ” Beecher recalls. This sparked a larger conversation about integrative therapies for children. “She thought that it was coming through the hospital or through insurance,” Beecher notes. However, they were “paying for tens of thousands of dollars for services for her out of pocket.”
Lucy was inspired by this conversation, and, with her mother, began discussing ideas for a nonprofit when she was 11.
Beecher’s fundraising efforts for children with cancer began after Lucy’s death. In 2010, she and a group of volunteers held a butterfly release event and raised more than $50,000.
Beecher worked with volunteers — including many of Lucy’s old friends — for four more years before leaving her job to work full time for Lucy’s Love Bus.
Her mission is to improve the “quality of life for children with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses with integrative therapies [that] ease children’s pain and anxiety during and after traditional medical treatments.” The name of the nonprofit came from Lucy herself. “The ‘Bus’ name comes from a suggestion that Lucy loved, because we’re delivering comfort. She was funny and quirky,” Beecher says.
Lucy particularly enjoyed horse therapy during the worst of her treatments. Lucy’s Love Bus raises money to help provide this and other forms of integrative therapies, including acupuncture, massages, meditation, yoga and music.
Lucy’s Love Bus’ reach extends throughout New England, and the organization currently helps about 250 kids and 75 families. It also offers various programs, including Lucy’s LoveSquad, a school-based leadership program that provides students with the opportunity to become activists for the nonprofit.
The most recent addition to the nonprofit is The Sajni Center, erected in 2018. The Amesbury facility is a space for hope and healing, offering numerous meditation and yoga workshops. “The center is about helping the whole family,” Beecher says.
“[At the center,] we try to fill in the missing pieces and support the family,” Beecher says. “It is so stressful to go through this, financially, emotionally, spiritually … it can really break a family apart. We are trying to keep the whole family intact and do things that are creative and different.”
Despite the spread of COVID-19, the nonprofit continues to evolve and is planning to team up with Tough Warrior Princesses and North of Boston Cancer Resource, two area organizations that help adults with cancer. Lucy’s Love Bus recently established Lucy’s Emergency Fund for necessities such as gas, diapers and groceries. Information on donations can be found on the nonprofit’s website.
Lucy’s Love Bus