The National Children’s Cancer Society Provides Tips for Helping Families Facing Cancer During Holidays

The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) is sharing ideas to make a meaningful difference this holiday season for families facing the extra appointments, travel, fatigue and stress that accompany childhood cancer.

For parents who have a child with cancer, the most pressing priority is always their child’s health and happiness. A child with cancer wants to experience all the joy the holiday season brings, as do their siblings.

Whether the child is at home or in the hospital they are craving some holiday fun. Find age-appropriate winter crafts on Pinterest and bring over all the supplies, a holiday soundtrack and treats for a special “get messy” session. If they’re not feeling up to lively activity or in the hospital, bring them cozy presents of fuzzy socks, hats, blankets and stuffed animals with a beloved holiday movie to watch.

Siblings are facing extra anxiety and emotions, so if you bring gifts, remember them too.

You can also make a caring gesture to help parents. Julie Komanetsky, VP of Patient & Family Services at the NCCS, suggests going behind the scenes to support families facing cancer over the holidays.

“I find these families appreciate acts of kindness that mean a great deal to them, but might not take more than an hour out of your day,” she said.

Komanetsky suggests things like shoveling snow from their sidewalk or picking up needed items from the store. You could also deliver a casserole, help with chores, wrap presents, take the family dog for a walk or help decorate their home. Simple gestures that don’t require a lot of coordination on the family’s end are best.

“Take care in assessing the family’s energy level. It may seem like a really nice gesture to take them out to dinner, and sometimes it is! But for others, they’ve been running back and forth to appointments or the hospital and would prefer a quiet evening at home.”

It is very important for parents to have extra time with all their children when a child is facing cancer.

“When you reach out to take on some household maintenance or meal preparation, you are giving the gift of more family time, which supports the emotional health of everyone involved.

“When we find ways to brighten the holidays for families facing cancer, it…

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