Since September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I felt it was a great time to share some suggestions on ways you can support a family with a Childhood Cancer diagnoses.
As some of you know, My Son was diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma Brain Tumor at the age of 6. Although he struggles with long term side effects, we are so thankful my Son's is still Cancer Free . Having a child diagnosed with Cancer was one of the most difficult times of our lives thus far, but at the same time, It also was a time of great growth for our family (you can read about my Son's Journey Here).
We learned to rely on each other a little bit more, we learned how to accept help, and we learned that the moment we are in right now... in this very second... is the most important.
People are truly kind. Through my Son's Journey, we encountered so many kind and compassionate people-of all ages. We were fortunate enough to feel the generosity of complete strangers. I say "feel" and not "receive" because it truly is a feeling that radiates from your heart through you whole body.
A friend asked me the other day what folks can do when they find out someone (especially a child) they know, or care for has been diagnosed with Cancer and how they can help-so from a Mom that has walked in those shoes here is some advice:
1. We are in the moment-so let that rub off on you. Share the LOVE! Hug those you love more often, and tell them you love them. The more the better.
2. Be aware we don't know what we need, we are probably just trudging through the basics. Instead of saying "If you need anything .. just let me know!!" offer something concrete to a family in treatment : a hot meal, mow their yard, take care of their pets, run errands, bring over some treats, a bag of groceries, a Monthly Maid service, or a Gas Gift card (to help defray the costs of Hospital Trips, etc.)
3. Know that we heard your offer, and appreciate it (even if we are too overwhelmed to take you up on your offer right now).
4. If you have a child in your care that has been diagnosed with Cancer-encourage the other children to make get well pictures or cards for them-let them know they are being thought of.
5. We are not contagious. There are days we are up for company, or a visit somewhere other than a hospital. Make plans with us.
6. Support the local resources that help the families in your area. Giving to non-profit organizations that support childhood Cancer patients is a great cause. Here is a link to some that may be in your area.
7. Talk to the Children in your care about Empathy. Read books about people who are different abled , and talk about how we can show compassion.
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