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Helping Children with Cancer Feel Understood

15 February 2022 – CANSA recently partnered with the Hollard Insurance Group to release stories in short booklet form, to encourage children fighting cancer, to mark International Childhood Cancer Awareness in February. The stories, written by CANSA TLC staff, were inspired by Hollard’s InstaStory platform.

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Gerda Strauss, CANSA’s Head of Service elaborates on the exciting project, “Our experienced TLC staff members, who work with children, teens and families affected by cancer daily, came up with the concept of providing reading material for children that would help answer questions that they may have around cancer, treatment and side effects. They narrowed down the themes to include the information most frequently asked about by children and their parents / guardians. The stories are sure to encourage children and parents / guardians in their fight against cancer.”

CANSA partnered with Hollard to design, illustrate and produce the books in an online format that is available for free on the CANSA website. Hollard further sponsored printed copies that are distributed to all CANSA TLC facilities country-wide.

CANSA is very grateful to long term-partner Hollard, for its efforts in educating around Men’s cancers and raising awareness regarding symptoms and the importance of cancer screening, for extending their support to include raising awareness of childhood cancer and for providing such a valuable support tool.

The stories include: “My Cancer Story”; “Candy has Cancer”; “Burt’s Broviac & Preethi’s Porto-catheter”; “Mandisa’s Mouth”; “Nkosi’s Infection” and “How does it Hurt Today?”. They enable children to identify with common experiences of what it is like to face a cancer diagnosis, side effects resulting from treatment (physical and emotional), including being able to say where it hurts and about pain management, as well as how to prevent and manage infections. The stories also make it easier for parents / guardians, to broach these matters with their children and to discuss it with them in a way that they understand.

Strauss concludes, “It’s important for us that parents and children know they need not face childhood cancer alone. CANSA TLC provides emotional and psychological support to children / teens and parents / guardians through sharing cancer related information; support groups, assistance with prostheses, ports, broviacs, medical equipment, hospital / ward support programmes, food and basic essential parcels to families in need and accommodation for parents / guardians near treatment centres at TLC Lodges (Polokwane, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town).

CANSA TLC further supports the child who has a parent or sibling that has been diagnosed with cancer who sometimes has become a caregiver. Parents / guardians needing support are encouraged to contact their local CANSA Care Centre and can also join the CANSA TLC Childhood Cancer Support Group on Facebook, where they can connect with others in a similar position. Our CANSA Tele Counselling service, available in seven languages and free of charge, is also available to parents / guardians, children with cancer or children whose loved ones have cancer.

(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email lbalona@cansa.org.za. Call 011 616 7662 or mobile 082 459 5230.)

CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We offer a Tele Counselling service in seven languages free of charge. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 8 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

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