When a child is diagnosed with cancer, their diagnosis affects the whole family right from the moment they hear the words, " I am sorry, but your child has cancer."
When this happens, families feel very much alone and in shock. Friends and loved ones are often not yet aware of the diagnosis and families suddenly face prolonged, lonely stays in hospital with little or no notice. Initially, the child and their parent will often be in a side room on their own, facing many lonely hours of not knowing what to do. We have been working closely with our oncology families to do something to help local families feel supported at this time.
Today, the team at the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust are proud to announce the launch of a new project providing specialist support packs for local families when their child is first diagnosed.
We have already built the packs and they are in place in hospital, ready and waiting for when families need them. The first few have been given out and we have had some wonderful feedback from those that have received them. They are to be available for the families of every child that is newly diagnosed with cancer in Worcestershire going forwards.
The packs contain a multitude of useful items such as toiletries, a comfort blanket, a notebook and pen, headphones for those long nights in hospital, a torch, sticker reward charts, a comfort cuddly for the child and several other items that will be valuable to have during an unplanned hospital stay. They will also receive our contact details, our information booklets and a referral form that will enable them to receive a non-means tested financial support grant to help with the extra costs they will be facing.
One of the first parents that received one of our packs said,
“There were so many things [in the pack that] we just wouldn’t have thought of and helped ease us into our hospital stays. [B] takes the blanket every time we go into hospital…. We feel so very well supported and not at all alone through this challenge… Thank you so much.”
The packs also contain a special “Ladybird Buzzy” device for each child to use. This cute vibrating ladybird with ice pack wings helps to decrease sharp pain sensations for children undergoing painful procedures. Developed by doctors, they can be fantastic in helping children take a little control of the procedures they require. For oncology children, this device can help to make the numerous painful procedures they require less distressing and less painful but currently are not available on the NHS. You can find out more about them here.
Another parent said,
“I just wanted to email to say a huge thank you for the pack. We used the buzzy ladybird today for [T’s] chemo injection and it was absolutely amazing- even the nurses said how fantastic it was. I really, really appreciate it as we were all dreading today after a very traumatic experience with cannulas.”
The Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust provides support to families at different stages of their child's cancer journey. This project is to enable us to be able to provide support right from the moment of diagnosis. We want to be able to give something positive to these families at the time when they need it most.