When a family gets a diagnoses of Cancer for one of their children, it goes way beyond the word "CANCER". Knowing your child has cancer is bad enough, and will change your life forever, but then the child usually gets sent far from home to get treatment. This usually happens right away, and one parent goes to be with the child. That means the family (in most cases) has just lost one income, and one parent from the home. It also means the remaining family members are left to deal with the emotions and worry of the missing sick child and parent and also to take on the responsibilities of the missing parent. This usually happens in a matter of days! Most cases the mother goes to be with the child, and dad is left to run the household, work and try to manage bills on a cut income. The effects of the diagnosis of Cancer trickle down in a way that can devastate a family's ability to live. The real world does not stop to let a family try to cope with what is happening in their lives, it just piles on more and more. During all that the family will do anything to help their child, even if it means losing a house, a car, credit score....nothing matters when it comes to your child's life! But the fact is, they need help, and the world does not freely share the effects on a family after a diagnosis of cancer. But you can help them. You can help financially, emotionally, spiritually . There are so many ways to help, even with out money.
Some little things that bring a big smile......
When a child is LIVING in the hospital (usually with mommy) , mommy does everything she can to make the cold, white hospital room "HOME". We decorate the walls, bring in home style blankets, stuffed animals, balloons, pictures, etc..A child can live in the hospital for months at a time. You can get the address and phone number for your local pediatric oncology ward, and send or bring a gift. Ask for the child life specialist, and she will help your gift get to the perfect family or child.
I assure you any card, or picture you send, is hung up to display!
Things you can send- Keep the child's age in mind
Its always nice to get a card. It can be a get well card, thinking of you card, inspirational, funny, or best of all a homemade card by your children.
Send a picture of you and your family with a note or prayer, letting them know you are thinking of them.
Pictures drawn by your children are great too.(get the kids involved-they will be happy to help)
Sun catchers ( a lot of these kids are confined to bed or can not go outside, so looking out the window is a must!)
Always fun!! It doesn't even matter what's inside!
Things that "hang"
To decorate the all dreaded I. V. pole. (kids often get to take a stroll around the floor, but the pole is always by their side)
For the walls and doors and windows, they sell them in all the favorites (Dora, Sesame street, Disney)
Drawing items are always good. Stickers crayons, coloring books, etc.
Ask the child life specialist if the hospital has VHS or DVD.
Whatever you send will bring a SMILE!
And if you want to help MOM-
Just think of what you would need if you were out of town for a long period of time.Think of the emotional support you would need as well.
Gift cards (wall mart, gas, food)
Disposable cameras, photo albums, scrap book items.
Journal papers and stationary.
Cards that let her know your praying for her/family and her child (if you have prayer request for her child-tell her-it helps)
Letters of encouragement, love, hope and faith.
If you don't know a specific child or how to reach them, you can always contact your local hospital, and donate items to the pediatric oncology floor (or whatever floor you want)
You can send balloons (mylar only-not latex) to be handed out, stickers are always a hit, or donate some items to the play room.
You can talk to the CHILD LIFE specialist, and see if they are in need of any particular items.
Other ways to help.......
BE A DONOR -
Blood, organ, bone marrow....
These kids use a lot of blood and other products! Their life depends on it being available. But these life saving things are ONLY available if someone donates them.You could be a hero, you CAN save a childs life!
Its FREE and it SAVES LIVES!
Donate your time and heart to help. There are many ways to do it, contact your local hospital or Ronald McDonald house for info. You will be glad you did. These HEROES are so inspiring. They are GIFTS OF GOD and if you meet one you will know.
And as always
RAISE AWARENESS, share the stories you have read, sign the petitions, write letters to the government. People need to know to care, and people need to care to help!
OUR CHILDREN NEED A VOICE! THEY NEED HOPE ! THEY NEED EVERY ONE OF YOU!
Please visit these sites, there is a lot of info on the research and funding of childhood cancer and what you can do to help.
The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke :: At Duke there is Hope
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital