Distraction can help kids cope with cancer

Distractions can help kids cope with cancer
Distractions such as gaming systems, laptops and tablets like the ones Mikey’s Way distributes, can help kids cope with cancer.

Kids with cancer face many painful and scary procedures that can be both traumatic and stressful. They endure long hours of isolating and lonely treatments. And, they face hours of what Mikey Friedman referred to as “toxic boredom.” But what Mikey came to understand first hand is that distraction can help kids cope with cancer treatment.

Mikey believed that there was an immediate and pressing importance to help cancer patients cope with the mental stress of cancer treatment. “We’ve seen that distraction and psychological intervention can aid in nausea.  But there is much more.” he wrote. He believed that distraction could also help kids cope with cancer treatment.  His own personal experience led him to believe that others could benefit from the use of distraction activities such as the gaming system he had.

The Goal of Distraction

The goal of distraction techniques for kids with cancer is to manage their anxiety, take the focus off their pain, and promote comfort. Gaming systems and other electronics like those which Mikey’s Way distributes, provide an alternative focus that draws kids into an interesting and engaging activity.  This distraction helps to decrease fear, anxiety and procedural pain.

At Mikey’s Way we know distraction works!  We have many letters and notes from grateful parents, caregivers and patients who share their stories.  They tell us over and over again what a difference an electronic device has made in distracting their child and helping them to cope with cancer.

Here are just a few of the notes we’ve received which illustrate that distraction can help kids cope with cancer treatment.


“I just wanted to send a big thank you! For this tablet for my Bubba (Jackson). He is beside himself excited. This is going to make all those LOONNNGG doctors appts and hospital stays a little nicer, for both of us! I have never been an advocate for my little kids being on electronics, but with Bubba having Leukemia this electronic isn’t a hindrance but a god send. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!”  Bubba and his mom


“I cannot say thank you enough. Charlie has been dealing with leukemia since November 2018. He was isolated in the hospital and at home for 10 months. Since then he has been getting used to his new norm, back at preschool and he is now in the maintenance phase of treatment.”

“Well….all of the sudden we are thrown back into isolation with everything going on in this uncertain world. It feels very reminiscent except this time- Charlie has a tablet! Thanks to you!
We actually received your generous gift a few weeks ago and I was going to give it to Charlie at clinic two weeks ago and then totally forgot. Thank goodness I forgot because now he associates it with ‘homeschool’ and is working on fun and educational apps each afternoon. The timing couldn’t have been better for a kid who so truly deserves it. Thank you thank you, thank you.” Charlie’s mom


“Our 14-year-old daughter was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This is a very difficult time, but Mary was absolutely thrilled when she received her laptop!  She is excited to use it at the hospital for games and YouTube!” Mary’s mom


“Emily is an 11-year-old girl who’s been battling leukemia for 2 1/2 years. About a month before she finished treatment, we found out that it was back. She likes to bake for family and her doctors. Emily also enjoys painting. We have long days at the clinic at least once a week. Depending on if she needs blood and if chemo is prepared quickly, we can sometimes be there 8-12 hrs. This week Emily was admitted for high dose chemo. The laptop that your foundation sent us is perfect. It has made my girl smile more than I’ve seen in a while. It has inspired her to learn to type, read a book from the library online and even look up recipes to try. She easily passes the time and is entertained. Thank you to everyone that contributed in spreading Mikey’s dream.”

“Emily just received her laptop and couldn’t wait to say thank you! She is already downloading games and getting things ready for her upcoming admission. She will be in the hospital getting chemo next week so it came at the perfect time. I know this will solve our “I’m bored” dilemma. Now I just need to make sure the battery can keep up.  Thank you for what you do.” Emily’s mom


“This is Brayden Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia Feb 21 2019. My son has been the strongest little dude during these last several months.  He was so excited to receive his tablet!  It will come in handy for those long clinic days or out patient days.  We are so thankful to have been so blessed with all the support around us to keep him entertained during this thought time.  We want to thank you so much!!” Brayden’s mom


“Josiah is so excited to be given a Nintendo. We aren’t very fond of gaming systems only because it’s easy to be on them all the time.”

“We have found that since JJ’s diagnosis 3 years ago, sometimes that is the only energy he has is to play a video game. Now almost done with treatments, we have used electronics to get through all of his appointments. He uses a tablet to ease his mind during accessing & deaccession, for LP. Now our family, including his 3 younger sisters knows that on chemo days he is allowed to use the tablet all day, eat junk food, & drink pop. We as parents need to let them look forward to a few things in a day, weeks, or months of hell they have to endure.” JJ’s mom

You can see more stories and photos by visiting our blog post category: The Gift: Testimonials, comments and personal stories.