Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - 27


WHAT ABOUT ME?
A child with cancer has unique needs that can demand a lot from
families. Healthy siblings may feel sidelined as energy and attention
focus on the one who has the disease.
Genevieve Stonebridge, a clinical counselor at InspireHealth,
a nonprofit supportive cancer care center in Victoria, British
Columbia, says siblings of children with cancer have seven needs:

 

and attention. Siblings need to know
1 Acknowledgment
they matter, even when a brother or a sister is battling cancer.
Stonebridge says, "Ask a sibling how they are doing, not just,
'How's your sister?'"

 

communication. It's important to talk to siblings-in an
2 Family
age-appropriate way-about the cancer diagnosis, treatment and
side effects. Parents may think they are protecting children by staying
silent, but without information children often imagine the worst.

 

Inclusion in the family. It's hard for siblings to watch someone
they love suffer, and they want to help. They can play games or
watch videos with their sibling. Skype chats, text messages and letters
can keep them connected if treatment requires travel.

3

 

To know that it's normal to have difficult emotions and
uncomfortable thoughts. Siblings may feel anger, confusion,
frustration, jealousy, hatred or guilt. Parents can help by giving the
sibling a safe space to work through emotions.

4

 

own support. Siblings need help from family members,
5 Their
teachers and coaches, and professionals like social workers and
counselors. It can also be good for siblings to talk to siblings of other
children with cancer.

 

To be a kid. Children need to play and keep up their
extracurricular activities. They can be responsible for their chores
and homework, but they shouldn't feel the burden of caring for their
parents emotionally.

6

 

Humor, laughter and lightheartedness. "It's a hard time, but
we can laugh, play and have a good time," Stonebridge says. "It's
important to have balance. Just because you're dealing with a crisis
doesn't mean there can't be wholehearted living."

TREES ILLUSTRATION BY JAMIE FARRANT/GETTY IMAGES

7

HOW CAN
I HELP?
If someone close to you has cancer, you'll
naturally want to offer help. But you may
not know what your loved one needs.
Find the answers-including what goodies to include in a chemo care package-
at yourcenter.uvacancercenter.com.
The University of Virginia Cancer Center
launched this online destination "to give
patients and caregivers a place to learn,
cope and grow through their experience
with cancer," says Jody K. Reyes, administrator for UVA Cancer Services. "It
even offers a place for those whose lives
aren't currently impacted by cancer to
get expert advice on how to prevent this
disease." The expanding research section at Your Center includes information
about enrolling in clinical trials and stories
that demonstrate how UVA experts are
translating laboratory findings into everyday practice.

WEBSITE

A Source of Support
and Research
At yourcenter.uvacancercenter.
com, discover a wealth of resources
for everyone affected by cancer.
Subscribe by email for updates from
UVA Cancer Center.

W INT E R 2016

27


http://yourcenter.uvacancercenter.com http://yourcenter.uvacancercenter.com http://yourcenter.uvacancercenter.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - Contents
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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - Cover3
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