Up to 40% of the 18 million children living with a chronic illness in the US alone develop post traumatic stress disorder.

Who We Are

Fluffy Friends for Children with Chronic Conditions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that develops methods to improve patient experiences and outcomes through comfort and healing.

This organization is driven by a single goal: to lessen the adverse effects of lifelong illness on chronically-ill patients. Our "Fluffy Friends" provide these children with a comforting companion and physicians with a way to connect with their patients.

Mission

Our mission is to brighten the lives of children with chronic conditions one FluffyFriendTM at a time by providing comfort and healing to improve patients' experiences and outcomes

At Fluffy Friends for Children with Chronic Conditions, we believe in taking action in order to comfort vulnerable children and to raise public awareness about chronic illnesses and their effects on young, fragile patients. "Fluffy Friends" serve as his or her very own companion who can relate to hospital experiences. We promote our initiatives to ensure all children with chronic illness never feel that they are fighting their battle alone. Please join us by supporting our efforts to make a measurable difference in the lives of others.

Our Initiatives: Making a Difference

4 Overlapping Goals

  1. Foster healthy psychological development in patients who have experienced traumatic medical episodes and break the cycle of adverse effects

  2. Facilitate trusting physician-patient relationships through health communication

  3. Improve patient education

  4. Remain sensititve to stigmas and other psychosocial challenges associated with chronic illness


3 Vehicles

  1. Comfort and healing

  2. Research

  3. Continuing Medical Education focused on trauma-informed care


1 Vision

  1. Better patient experiences and outcomes

Problem:


One out of four children suffer from a chronic illness, and they often face the repercussions of ignorance and stigma associated with these conditions. Living with a chronic medical condition can be isolating at times, especially once a child starts school and begins to interact with other children. Onlookers may be insensitive to a patient’s medical condition, whether they dismiss patients’ fears, or their outspoken assumptions highlight that they simply cannot comprehend the concept of a lifelong illness that cannot be cured with over-the-counter medications. For children, peers their age often struggle to understand such complex situations. Bullies may taunt them about their physical appearance, such as surgical scars or ports. Isolation and fear in these patients are valid threats to healthy psychological development. Many studies have firmly established that stressors caused by illness have the potential to leave lasting adverse consequences on child development and quality of life [1]. The long-term effects and outcomes for patients who have developed PTSD because of their medical diagnoses can be crippling. From nightmares to constant vigilance for life-threatening symptoms, patients who develop PTSD suffer the long-term effects of their diagnoses every day.


Most children who experience acute traumatic episodes are not seen by behavioral healthcare providers who can drastically increase the probability of preventing post-traumatic stress symptoms [2]. These specialists are often not assigned to the departments treating chronically-ill patients as the traditional biomedical approach to medical care often overlooks the emotional dimensions of chronic medical conditions [3]. Pediatric medicine is concerned not only with the physical well-being of patients, but the emotional and social development of children [4], yet the diagnosis and treatment of chronic illness often focuses on the biomedical aspects of the condition while inside the walls of clinical facilities. With respect to PTSD specifically, the worst part is that the only clinical recommendations for these patients are coping mechanisms.


1. Williams, N.A., et al., Importance of play for young children facing illness and hospitalization: rationale, opportunities, and a case study illustration. Early child development and care, 2021. 191(1): p. 58-67.

2. Marsac, M.L., et al., Posttraumatic Stress Following Acute Medical Trauma in Children: A Proposed Model of Bio-Psycho-Social Processes During the Peri-Trauma Period. Clinical child and family psychology review, 2014. 17(4): p. 399-411.

3. Turner, J. and B. Kelly, Emotional dimensions of chronic disease. The Western journal of medicine, 2000. 44(2): p. 22-128.

4. "Pediatrics." Association of American Medical Colleges, https://www.aamc.org/cim/explore-options/specialty-profiles/pediatrics.