Coping with childhood cancer: Where to turn for emotional support

The diagnosis of a childhood cancer is often shocking, and can change a family's dynamics, routines, and entire home life overnight. For the child with cancer, physical changes, a lack of independence, and need to endure both emotionally and physically challenging treatments over an extended period of time, are three of many hurdles along the way. For brothers and sisters, feelings of guilt, resentment, and a perceived obligation to care for their ill sibling are not uncommon. Parents often struggle to maintain as much "normalcy" as possible in these abnormal conditions, but issues like disciplining a child on active treatment, or finding ways to give a sibling the extra attention he's craving amidst hospital stays or demanding treatment schedules, can be incredibly difficult. Childhood cancer affects the entire family, truly. While there's no quick fix to solve the many challenges of surviving childhood cancer, we're glad to know of several wonderful support services available to help your family through the rigors of treatment and beyond.

Through an innovative program that merges modern integrative medicine with traditional martial arts, Kids Kicking Cancer addresses the overwhelming needs of children with illness. Specially trained black belt martial artists teach breathing, visualization, and relaxation techniques, in addition to traditional martial arts moves to help empower the children and provide them with a sense of power, peace, and purpose. We are pleased to share that Kids Kicking Cancer will be joining us at Camp Casco again in 2017 to help our campers learn power, peace, and purpose!

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation aims to raise money and awareness of childhood cancer causes, primarily for research into new treatments and cures, and to encourage and empower others, especially children. Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation provides emotional support in a number of ways, including their Parent To Parent Network, annual Childhood Cancer Symposium, and innovative SuperSibs program to support siblings of childhood cancer.

One Mission is a pediatric cancer charity that does whatever it takes to get kids through cancer. One Mission programs make living in the hospital less lonely and stressful, bring back joy in a time of fear and uncertainty, and give kids and their loved ones the support they need to get through the emotional and financial challenges of treatment. One Mission provides many wonderful programs for families, including their new Heart to Heart support for parents after treatment!

One Summit empowers resilience in families facing pediatric cancer through experiential learning with Navy SEALs, community, and storytelling. One Summit's annual Climb for Courage in Boston provides children with cancer and their siblings with a Navy SEAL mentor, and teaches resiliency, courage, goal-setting, and perseverance.

Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation provides services and resources for families with brain tumors. The PBTF is also the world's largest non-profit fundraiser working to find a cure for childhood brain tumors.  They offer support services for newly diagnosed families like the Starfolio toolkit and video learning series!

Finally, Camp Casco creates amazing camp experiences that build lifelong connections for children and their families. Through participation in our week-long sleep-away summer camp, childhood cancer patients and survivors ages 7-17 build bonds that last well beyond the week of camp itself. Our free family socials throughout the year keep camp friendships strong and nourish friendships between families who share experiences with childhood cancer. We build a supportive community for children with cancer and their families.

Meet representatives from all of the amazing organizations above at our first-ever Family Resource Fair on Saturday, April 1, in Chestnut Hill! We'll be ready to answer all of your questions and help you take advantage of these much-needed resources.