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Ask the Doctor: Talking to Children About a Cancer Diagnosis

It's impossible to shield children from sadness, but parents can take steps to make sad or disturbing news easier to hear -- and bear.

It’s impossible to shield children from sadness, but parents can take steps to make sad or disturbing news easier to hear — and bear.

Dr. Cheryl Book, Director of Family and Clinical Services, answers parents’ questions about how to break the news that someone a child knows has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.  

Unfortunately, it is quite probable that most children will know someone who is diagnosed with cancer during their childhoods. It could be a friend or teacher, a neighbor or a family member. It might be someone on their periphery, or someone close to them. Your child will have questions and will look to you for answers. The following pointers may make a difficult conversation easier. read full story

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Then…and Now

Madeline's illness took a chunk of her childhood - but not her spirit or zest for life. Her experience at Camp Simcha inspired her to give forward. She now plans a professional life of helping others.

Madeline’s illness took a chunk of her childhood – but not her spirit or zest for life. Her experience at Camp Simcha inspired her to give forward. She now plans a professional life of helping others.

When I was two years old, I was diagnosed with cancer and Chai Lifeline changed my life! They were always there for me when I needed someone. Camp Simcha changed my life and I made so many friends there. I still speak to them from this day! When I grow up, I want to be an American Sign Language teacher to help kids who are deaf. Thank you Chai Lifeline!

Madeline Benoff

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In the Southeast, Summer Dayz Meant Summer Fun

Summer Dayz extends Chai Lifeline Southeast's recreational and social programming for children through the summer months.

Summer Dayz extends Chai Lifeline Southeast’s recreational and social programming for children through the summer months.

One of the quandaries that Chai Lifeline faces annually is how to give the love, acceptance, and confidence that children find at Chai Lifeline throughout the year to kids during the summer months.  Last year, Chai Lifeline Southeast, the regional branch of the international children’s health support organization, created the ultimate fix for them: Summer Dayz. read full story

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Paws of Love Helps Children Emerge From Their Shells

Interacting with pets has physical and emotional benefits for children with illnesses.

Interacting with pets has physical and emotional benefits for children with illnesses.*
*Photo used for illustrative purposes only.

In the spring of 2016, Eli was diagnosed with a serious chronic disorder. As the realities of his new life, one where he would be more restricted in his movement, sunk in, he became more withdrawn. Concerned, they confided their worries to their Chai Lifeline West Coast case manager. read full story

Finding enjoyable outlets -- like Chai Lifeline's Family Camp Adventure-- is one way that parents can refresh their minds and bodies.

6 Ways To Take Care of Yourself When Parenting a Sick Child

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From the moment you wake up until the time you rest your head upon your pillow at night, your day is filled with the responsibilities of caring for your sick kid (or sick children!), and their brothers and sisters. Treatment, therapy, medical appointments, or school issues, not to mention the day to day necessities of taking care of a home and making a living. As you haul that last load of laundry up the stairs or fall into bed at night, you find yourself wondering, “When is it time for ME?”
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5 Steps to Take To Nudge Your Teen With Chronic Illness to Take Responsibility For Her Health

Adolescence is a time when parents of teens with chronic illnesses or medical challenges may want to tear their hair out.

Adolescence is the period where teens need to psychologically move away from their parents and become more independent. Many times, teens will push limits to see how far they can go.
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Parents can take concrete steps to help brothers and sisters thrive despite the illness of a sibling.

Fitting Everyone In: Raising Healthy Siblings When a Child is Ill

When a child is born or diagnosed with a serious illness, brothers and sisters are bound to be impacted. Why do some exhibit signs of stress or depression while others seem to thrive?

Siblings living alongside a child with a chronic illness will experience a jumble of positive and negative reactions. They can feel love and a combination of resentment, embarrassment, guilt, sorrow or fear simultaneously. Without the skills to understand and cope, a child’s self-esteem can suffer. Anger and guilt can turn inward, leading to a sense of shame or worthlessness. Depression, anxiety or somatic symptoms can arise.
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New Video Shows That There Are No Limits to What Sick Kids Can Do.

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Despite having lost both his legs to illness, Benji maintains there are no limits to what he will accomplish in life.

 

Too often, our default emotion when we hear about childhood illness is pity. It’s natural to feel awful when confronted with the reality of pediatric illness, but does it really reflect how children with illnesses see themselves?
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Does Your Child Qualify for SSI Benefits?

We welcome this contribution from Deanna Power of Social Security Disability Help. Please note that we cannot answer any questions about specific situations. Please address all questions about eligibility or how to apply to help@disability-benefits-help.org.

SSI offers financial relief to families living with serious pediatric illness.

SSI offers financial relief to families living with serious pediatric illness.

It is almost a law of nature that a child’s illness impacts a family’s income. Medical bills, time off from work, extra housekeeping or childcare needs add up quickly. SSI (Supplemental Security Income), a program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides some relief for families through monthly financial assistance to parents of children with life-threatening or severe chronic illnesses.
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