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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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Camp Simcha Works Its Magic for 440 Campers

Camp Simcha was turned into a Magic Kingdom this summer.

Camp Simcha was turned into a Magic Kingdom this summer.

It’s always enchanting to watch the buses pull in to Camp Simcha. Four times a summer, children alight into the waiting arms of counselors, go through a purple arch and emerge into a world where illness recedes and fun awaits. read full story

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‘THEN AND NOW’ TRACKS THE PATHS OF CHAI LIFELINE CLIENTS AND VOLUNTEERS

"Then and Now" encourages former Chai Lifeline clients and Camp Simcha campers to share their stories.

“Then and Now” encourages former Chai Lifeline clients and Camp Simcha campers to share their stories.

Does Chai Lifeline bring out the natural empathy in people, or are people who are touched by the organization more likely to nurture their empathetic abilities when choosing careers?

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Camp Simcha Girls Repeat the March of Hope

Camp Simcha's March of Hope gave 400 campers and staff a chance to celebrate life and survivorship.

Camp Simcha’s March of Hope gave 400 campers and staff a chance to celebrate life and survivorship.

A new generation of girls fighting cancer marched over the Brooklyn Bridge in a celebration of life, joy, and hope.

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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

Becky is looking forward to her first summer at Camp Simcha.

For Becky and Family, Camp Simcha Awaits

Becky is looking forward to her first summer at Camp Simcha.

Becky is looking forward to her first summer at Camp Simcha.*
*Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Eight months ago, Becky B. was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a rare cancer that attacks bone and surrounding tissue. Since then, the 13-year-old’s life has centered around hospitals and painful treatment. The one bright spot has been the support of Chai Lifeline, whose volunteers and professionals have “adopted” the family, filling their lives with light during a very dark period.

This summer, Becky is going to Camp Simcha, Chai Lifeline’s overnight camp adventure for children with cancer and other life-threatening or chronic illnesses and disabilities. She can’t wait, and neither can her family. read full story

Your Child Beat Cancer (YAY!). 5 Things Your Pediatrician Should Know

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Your Child Beat Cancer (YAY!). 5 Things Your Pediatrician Should Know

Physicians Lisa Diller, the chief medical officer of the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and Peter Manley, an oncologist and directorStop & Shop Family Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic, note five areas for pediatricians as survivors transition back to healthy pediatric care.
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The end of treatment calls for a celebration -- and a conference with your pediatrician.
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The end of treatment calls for a celebration — and a conference with your pediatrician.

1. Physicians should receive a copy of the child’s treatment summary and care plan created by the oncologist.
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2. Remember that the end of treatment is also a time of anxiety and transition for children and parents.

3. Watch for signs of side effects from treatment. (The article notes resources for the physical effects of treatment, but pediatricians and parents should be on the lookout for emotional and social changes as well.)
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4. Know what services are available for survivors and their families.

5. Promote good health habits.

 

Read the entire article here.

 
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Baltimore Raven’s Jacoby Jones Throws a Lifeline to Cancer Patient

Baltimore Raven’s Jacoby Jones Throws a Lifeline to Cancer Patient

Football became too dangerous for Coby when he was diagnosed with cancer. Rather than let his football dreams die when he was told that he would have to stop playing in the league he loved, volunteers from Chai Lifeline, the international charity dedicated to helping sick children and their families, fulfilled his greatest dreams: playing with Baltimore Raven’s wide receiver Jacoby Jones.
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Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones and cancer patient Coby get ready to toss the football at a game organized by volunteers for Chai Lifeline.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones and cancer patient Coby get ready to toss the football at a game organized by volunteers for Chai Lifeline.


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Jacoby and Coby played a competitive game with some of Coby’s best friends and Chai Lifeline volunteers. Coby wore his JONES jersey, and Jacoby Jones wore his custom-made (JA)COBY jersey.
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There’s no question that Jacoby Jones is a hero on and off the football field. But there’s no word on who won the football skirmish, which was played at Carroll Indoor Sports Center in Westminster, MD.

7 Tips to Remember When Breaking Bad News to Children

7 Tips to Remember When Breaking Bad News to Children

 

There are a million reasons why we can’t shield our children from the reality of death. Nor should we.

 Our challenge is not to keep bad news at bay, but to help our children understand, accept and express themselves when it happens.
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Adults can help children synthesize news of death, tragedy, or trauma into their lives. 
Adults can help children synthesize news of death, tragedy, or trauma into their lives.

It will be the rare child who will pass into adulthood without being touched by the death of someone close. Events like this week’s massacre at a Har Nof, Israel, synagogue, splashed all over the media in gory detail, can also shock or trigger distress. Chai Lifeline’s crisis team offers parents a 7-point guide for adults who must help children process a personal or communal tragic event.

1. Get yourself under control. Showing emotion is appropriate. Allowing yourself to be overcome with grief when transmitting news is scary for children. They need to know that an adult will take care of them.

2. Talk about death in age appropriate, direct, factual terms. Speak in a gentle voice. Parents can hug their children, hold their hands, or place their arm around their shoulders.

3. Encourage children to give voice to their feelings. Emphasize that there are no right or wrong reactions. Validate their emotions. Chances are, whether the dominant feeling is sadness, anger, relief that someone is no longer in pain, or intense longing, others feel it as well.oakley gascan sunglasses

4. Focus children’s attention on activities that can provide solace. If they don’t want to speak, they may feel better by drawing, writing in a journal, playing, making music or engaging in art projects.

5. Let children know who they can turn to for support. Never leave a child feeling stranded.

6. Encourage children to engage in activities they find comforting and relaxing. Let them know that even the saddest people need to play, be with friends, and distract themselves or they will be overwhelmed by grief. At the same time, you need to allow children to be children. Don’t get upset when they act their age.

7. Understand that children process bad news differently at each stage of childhood.Cheap ray ban sunglasses

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