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When a Child Has Cancer, It’s Hard to Know What to Say

During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, see ways you can provide support.

When a child in your community is diagnosed with cancer, it’s natural to want to help, but you might not always know what to say or how to lend a hand.

“It’s so hard because every parent copes differently,” says Mary Van Meter, certified child life specialist at Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Health℠. “Many parents say it is hard to hear ‘I’m so sorry.’ Rather, it’s important to focus on the positive statements of, ‘We are in this with you. Whatever you need, we’re here.’”

There are many ways you can provide support and meaningful help to families facing cancer including:

• Bring necessities to families during treatment such as favorite snacks, books and toiletries.
• Ask the family if you can help communicate updates.
• Provide support at home including rides, meals and help with household chores.
• Focus on expressing compassion and support, rather than giving advice.

See more ideas for how you can help a family facing a cancer diagnosis.


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