Lee Memorial Health Systems

Barbara's Friends

Not long ago, the closest treatment for children with cancer in Southwest Florida was in St. Petersburg or Miami. Barbara’s Friends has bridged that gap. We are dedicated to providing resources to fulfill the treatment and educational needs of our pediatric oncology and hematology patient population and their families at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Our goal is to keep families together and provide local treatment so that these families are able to keep some normalcy in their lives and allow parents to stay physically and emotionally close to their sick child.

Barbara Haskell who lost her life at the young age of 32 to breast cancer is the inspiration and spirit behind her namesake, Barbara’s Friends. After a four-year battle with her illness, Barbara marveled at the bravery of children with cancer. She often wondered how they could cope with the treatments that were sometimes as difficult as the disease itself. After her passing, her parents Betty and Frank Haskell helped make her wish to help children come true by establishing Barbara’s Friends — Golisano Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund. The Barbara’s Friends rainbow logo comes from Barbara’s lifelong love of the classic film “The Wizard of Oz” and its memorable song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”


Golisano Children’s Hospital Cancer Center includes several units:

• Barbara’s Friends Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Outpatient Center
• Barbara’s Friends Pediatric Pharmacy
• Barbara’s Friends Medical Library
• Barbara’s Corner Playground
• Yawkey Children’s Counseling Center

Barbara’s Friends has also established an endowment fund for continuing support of the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Program at Golisano Children’s Hospital. Barbara’s Friends receives no tax support and is entirely dependent on philanthropic funds to support the many pediatric oncology and hematology programs and services not reimbursed by public or private health insurance.

Pediatric Oncology & Hematology Statistics

Since opening, the Barbara’s Friends Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Outpatient Center has treated over 3,000 sick children from throughout Southwest Florida. Over 50% of the children treated for cancer at the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida are uninsured, on Medicaid or have no form of payment; however no child is denied treatment regardless of their family’s ability to pay.

According to the American Cancer Society, over 9,000 children under the age of 15 in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer each year. Thanks to significant advances in therapy, almost 80 percent of these children will survive five years or more —  an increase of almost 45 percent since the early 1960s.

Despite its rarity and the impressive strides in treatment and supportive care, cancer is still the leading cause of death in children under age 15, second only to accidents.

Barbara’s Friends Pediatric Hematology Oncology Outpatient Center

The State of Florida Department of Children’s Medical Services has designated Golisano Children’s Hospital one of nine centers in the state to provide care for children diagnosed with cancer or blood disorders. The hospital performs confirmatory and follow-up testing for newborns identified with presumptive abnormal hemoglobin screening results, including those for sickle cell disease, through the Infant Screening Program. Through its membership in the Children’s Oncology Group, a cooperative research group supported by the National Cancer Institute, Golisano Children’s Hospital can ensure that patients have access to clinical trials, advanced therapies and the collective expertise of world-renowned specialists. We are proud to note that over 95% of our cancer patients benefit from nationally or internationally recognized research protocols.

How you can help

Your donation to Barbara’s Friends  — Golisano Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund can help make a difference in the life of a child with cancer or a blood disorder. Please help us continue our mission to fund programs, services, equipment and the best in medical care for the children of our community so no child will have to leave home for treatment. 100% of funds donated to Barbara’s Friends goes to help children with cancer and blood disorders. To make a donation, please call 239-343-6950 or make a secure gift online.

*Please note, if you have difficulty accessing this donation page, please call (239) 343-6950 for assistance.


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