Raise Awareness for Childhood Cancer

Raise Awareness about childhood cancer

September is the month chosen to raise awareness for childhood cancer. According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, “By the time this month is over, another 1,300 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer. Even with the best treatments available, 1 in 5 children with cancer will not survive. And of those who do, most will have long-term side effects from their treatment.”

An Opportunity to Raise Awareness

For thousands of children across the country, cancer is a daily reality. For this reason, at Mikey’s Way, we see every day as a chance to raise awareness about childhood cancer. It’s especially important during September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This is a time when families, researchers, advocates, communities and charities unite to raise awareness about this disease.

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Children with Cancer during Coronavirus

Children with Cancer during Coronavirus

While children with cancer during coronavirus face challenges such as increased social isolation, there is some good news. According to a study led by Andrew Kung, MD, PhD, Chair of MSK Kids and his colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer, children and teens with cancer are not at higher risk of being affected by COVID-19 than children without cancer. The research also shows that children with cancer who have COVID-19 often have mild symptoms like those of healthy children.

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Talking With Your Child About Cancer

By Les Friedman, CEO and Mikey’s dad

Photo by National Cancer Institute

“Your child has cancer.”  These words are probably the most frightening words a parent will ever hear. And amidst our own fears, is the equally daunting thought of talking with your child about cancer.

Talking with your child about cancer: why they need to know

It’s only natural to want to protect our children from the cancer and the fear that comes along with it. For this reason, it may be tempting to consider holding off talking with your child about cancer or even not telling him at all. But not telling the truth will only lead to problems later.

Kids usually know when something is wrong. They may not be feeling well or may wonder why they have so many medical visits.  In fact, some children will create their own idea as to what they think is wrong.  Not knowing what is wrong or what to expect may cause your child even more anxiety, stress, and fear.  For this reason, being honest tends to lessen a child’s stress, guilt, and confusion.

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Social Distancing – all too familiar for cancer patients

By Les Friedman, CEO and Mikey’s dad

Social distancing - all too familiar for cancer patients. Wearing a mask and gloves is nothing new for cancer patients.

The spread of the Novel Coronavirus has placed social distancing in the forefront of global attention.  For most people, this is probably their first experience practicing social distancing to avoid infection.  But for cancer patients, it’s well, just another Monday.  The concept of social distancing is all too familiar for cancer patients, whose immune systems may be compromised because of their disease or treatment.

Wearing a mask, donning gloves, avoiding crowds and frequent hand washing aren’t anything new. While this behavior is the new normal for everyone during COVID-19, it’s the “always normal” for cancer patients.  

That’s why when it comes to coping with isolation, cancer patients are a step ahead of everyone else.  Because they’ve been practicing social distancing and staying connected, while apart, for years. 

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Mind-body Practices Can Lower Distress

Mind-body practices like connecting with friends on a laptop can lower distress.
Mind-body practices like connecting with friends on a laptop can lower distress.

Receiving a childhood cancer diagnosis and undergoing treatment can be very stressful. Every aspect of a child’s life is turned upside down. The uncertainty and pain associated with long and grueling treatment can be overwhelming. But the good news is there are ways to help children cope.  Mind-body practices like yoga, mindfulness, and diversion can in fact lower distress. And connecting with classmates, friends and family using electronic devices can help at a time of significant isolation.

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What Did The Doctor Just Say?

By Les Friedman, Mikey’s dad

What did the doctor just say image of doctor.

When the doctor speaks with you about your child’s diagnosis, you might hear what he’s saying, but hearing isn’t the same as understanding.  This happens not only because it’s difficult to process information after receiving overwhelming news, but also because childhood cancer has its own complex vocabulary of medical terms and acronyms. Lots of new information coupled with a lot of emotion makes it difficult to process what you were just told. As a result, you may find yourself wondering, “What did the doctor just say?”

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Chemotherapy, Kids and Mood Swings

By Les Friedman
CEO and Mikey’s dad

Chemotherapy, Kids and Mood Swings - be prepared.

When your child is about to begin chemotherapy, you may already know the possible side effects such as nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue. But are you prepared for the mood swings and emotional changes that your child may experience during his treatment? Just like chemotherapy side effects that you can physically see, such as hair loss, mental health issues are also a very real and common effect for kids coping with cancer.

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Laptop Computers Help Kids With Cancer Smile!

Laptops Add Smiles
“Thank you so much for my laptop! I really love it.” Emily

Laptop computers can help kids with cancer smile and Emily knows this all too well. Emily is a delightful eleven-year-old who loves to bake tasty confections for her family and her doctors. When she isn’t baking, she’s busy painting, an activity she enjoys almost as much as baking! Emily is also battling Leukemia for the second time, but a Mikey’s Way laptop helped put a shining smile on her beautiful face.

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This #GivingTuesday Give Like Mikey

#GivingTuesday Give Like Mikey: "The best gift that you can get is to give a gift to another person.

As children across the country dream about holiday gifts and holiday parties, our hearts go out to all the pediatric cancer patients whose holiday will be spent wishing they could feel better. Some are so sick they have to spend their holidays in a hospital room.

And while most children await the gift-giving season with excited anticipation, when your family is burdened with medical bills, gifts become a luxury that are difficult to afford. That’s why our Mikey’s Wish List and Mikey’s Way Day programs are especially important during this time of year.

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Mindfulness: Mind-Body Therapy

Learn How Mindfulness Mind-Body Therapy Can Help Pediatric Cancer Patients

By: Rachel Baumann, M.A.
Emily Winter, M.A., S.Y.C., N.C.S.P.

Mindfulness can help pediatric cancer patients
“Visualize Your Favorite Place to Be” is a great grounding exercise to use during moments of stress or anxiety.

What is mindfulness? How does it work? And, how exactly does it relate to cancer care for pediatric patients?

Mindfulness is a mind-body form of therapy that connects physical health to mental well-being.  It’s a technique in which an individual strives to remain in the present moment, not worried about the future, nor dwelling in the past. Mindfulness helps children (and adults!) remain focused on what is happening in the present: cognitively and emotionally, as well as keeping individuals tuned into their senses. (1)  

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