Recently, I had the honour and pleasure of sitting amongst a group of mothers who made the very brave decision to take some time out for themselves, and attend our weekend Mum’s Retreat. They left their homes, their children, and most probably their comfort zones to link up with other mums who can relate to the experience of having a child diagnosed with cancer, and the fallout that ensues.
This was not an easy decision for most of them. For some, they may not have known any of the other mums. For others, there was the fear of leaving the care of their child in the hands of someone else, especially hard when still in the midst of active treatment. And for the rest, it was simply giving permission and acknowledging that, yes, it is ok to do something for themselves.
Kids Cancer Support Group (KCSG) is not a new charity. It has been around since 1983, however it has been flying under the radar for a while. Now, with a new dedicated committee, our direction is changing and we are excited about what we have on offer for the families of Ward 3B at Princess Margaret Hospital. The KCSG committee is a team of past and current 3B parents, so ‘we get it’, and it’s our experiences that help guide us with our agenda.
In a nutshell, KCSG is a ’distractionary’ charity (yes, this word is made up). We are here to distract the kids diagnosed with cancer, their brothers and sisters, and their parents from the daily grind that is cancer treatment.
Our three aims are to CONNECT, SUPPORT and ENRICH the lives of kids diagnosed with cancer and other blood disorders, and their families. We want to try and soften some of the speed bumps and hurdles our families encounter along the way. All three of these goals work hand in hand.
No one else will understand the impact of having a child diagnosed with cancer as well as other families going through the same experience. By helping to connect our families, it encourages them to talk about what’s going on. They soon realise that the feelings, emotions, turmoil and impact they experience are normal for this ‘new’ life. By making these connections we hope our families find comfort in a new support network.
Our enrichment comes from the events we have introduced to allow parents and kids (either the ones on treatment, or their siblings) some time out. We have run a number of very successful Mum’s Retreat Weekends, Dad’s Days Out, and school holiday activities over the last 18 months.
If you have found your way here, you are in the right place. Every person travels the childhood cancer road in their own way. Some choose to lay low, finding that minimal interaction with others works best for them. Whilst, others are more forthcoming, and happy to chat and engage. Many also find that the degree of engagement with other kids’ cancer families changes over time.
The bottom line is, there is no right or wrong way to get through this. We just hope that you keep KCSG in mind, and remember that we are here to support and assist you any way we can.
In order to help us plan our support, services, and events, we want to know who our families are. If you are a 3B family, please complete our family registration form by clicking the yellow button at the bottom of this post, or on our homepage.