My Mum/Dad has cancer - What can I do?
Cancer can affect the whole family, so when a parent is diagnosed with cancer it can be hard on their children. There are support groups and websites out there that can help (if you know where to look!).
riprap is a site to help you cope when a parent has cancer (aimed at people aged 12-16 years old.) If you can’t see the website properly you probably don’t have flash installed. Follow this link and click on “Get Flash Player”. You will probably need to be logged in to your computer as an administrator, so it might not work on a school computer.
To use the riprap site click on the coloured buttons on the right hand side. I must be getting old, because I prefer having words to click on! If you do too, then I think a good place to start is the Living With Cancer section (which also has links on the right hand side).
Trying to explain to young children about hospitals and tests can be difficult. Great Ormond Street Childrens Hospital and the NHS have produced a website called “Children First“. It is mostly aimed at children going into hospital, but none the less, it is well done and helps to explain lots of complicated things in a way that kids can relate to.
The Children First website has four sections, Teens, Juniors, Kids and Families. The juniors section is aimed at kids aged from 4-6 years old and this section on “Tests” helps to explain what happens when you have an X-ray, CT Scan, MRI or blood tests. Kids aged 7 to 11 years can find out more information about hospital tests here. This section for teens aged 12-18 also gives information on tests. PLEASE NOTE - These webpages give information on all sorts of tests, NOT just ones to do with cancer.
Macmillan, the cancer support charity have a website called “Why Bother“. Which provides information on all types of cancer aimed at people aged from 11-17 years old.
Breast Cancer Care, produce a book called “Mummy’s Lump” which explains breast cancer to Under Sixes. It is illustrated like a story book.
Another website aimed at children and young people (aged from 8 to 18 years) is “Quit Because“. It is designed to help young people stop smoking. It is estimated that if everyone who smoked, stopped smoking today we would half the rate of cancer in the UK.
The Help for Hospices website produce a carers pack for young carers (people under 16 years old) who are caring for someone with a terminal illness (one that won’t get better). The Winston’s Wish Foundation are a UK charity and they have message boards for young people who have had a friend or a family member die, some (but not all) of these messages are written by people who have lost someone close through cancer. Remember not to give away personal information on websites (like your real name or your schools name)
What help is available locally? There are Young Carers Support groups in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, you can find their contact details here and some more information on the VSA website. There is also a Young Carers project run in Huntly through Gordon Rural Action. (formerly known as GRAIN)
If you know of any other useful links, please leave a message below.