HomeSupport for Families
HomeSupport for Families

What we do

For over 40 years, Child Cancer Foundation has stood by our kaupapa of ensuring that every family going through childhood cancer in New Zealand has someone there to support them at a time when they need it most.

We are there, every step of the way

Living with childhood cancer can be overwhelming.

While medical staff do an incredible job treating the child, families often need emotional and practical support beyond what doctors and nurses are able to give.

That’s why we ensure that each newly diagnosed family has a dedicated Family Support Coordinator, who is there to provide them with the specific help they need, every step of the way.

Families say that being there for them is the most important thing a Family Support Coordinator does.

They walk the path of childhood cancer with the family, helping to lighten their load wherever they can. When things seem impossible, their support can make all the difference.

Family Support Coordinators help whānau find many of their own solutions to the challenges they face. This means it’s the family, not the disease, who’s in control and they can live their best lives in the face of childhood cancer.

How we are there for families

We provide personalised support to families in five main areas.

No two families’ experiences are the same, and neither is the support they need. That’s why we are there for each whānau in the areas that will help them most. Click each icon to learn more.

Supporting healthy relationships

Connection between families living with childhood cancer is important, as they can often feel isolated from people who aren’t able to understand what they are going through. Our parent retreats, sibling camps and Connect Group activities give whānau opportunities for social connection with others going through a similar experience.

Families may find themselves separated for long periods of time while their child receives treatment. We help families stay connected by offering opportunities for siblings and extended family to visit the sick child and parent in hospital. Whānau are also given the chance to enjoy a holiday together, either at one of our holiday homes in Taupō and Arrowtown or somewhere else in Aotearoa, so they can spend time with each other and create precious memories.

Providing day-to-day emotional support for whānau

Childhood cancer brings many powerful emotions which each family experiences differently. To help them adjust to the unexpected changes in their lives and stay strong for each other, each family has a dedicated Family Support Coordinator. They work closely with whānau to identify where they are coping well and where they need extra support. This connection means whānau are given the specific help they need, as they need it. We provide a holistic model of support, recognising that spiritual and physical wellbeing are important influences on emotional strength.

A unique part of our emotional support is the Beads of Courage® programme, which honours a child’s strength and resilience. Each bead is given to a child as a physical representation of the courage they have shown during a treatment, milestone or experience, and can help acknowledge anxiety about procedures. Siblings of children with cancer can participate in the Beads of Courage® Sibling Programme, which provides recognition of their own emotional journey.

Lessening the financial impact of childhood cancer

Childhood cancer can put a lot of strain on a family’s finances. At least one parent usually has to take time off work to care for their sick child, which can make providing for the rest of the family and meeting financial commitments difficult. Everyday expenses can quickly become a burden for some families, so we provide short-term financial support for unexpected costs. Family Support Coordinators work with whānau to help them adapt to their new situation and find ways to manage the financial impact of childhood cancer on their family.

Helping whānau maintain control of their lives

Having a child with cancer can cause day-to-day challenges that families are unlikely to have experienced before. Our Family Support Coordinators work with each whānau to help them identify their strengths and capabilities so they know they have the tools to overcome any setbacks. Offering opportunities for respite, both for parents and the family as a whole, is an important part of this to ensure they are able to rest, re-energise and regain the strength to carry on.

Personalised
support

Encouraging families to look to the future

For some families, the difficulties of childhood cancer don’t end when the treatment ends. Life is never the same again and getting used to a new normal can be just as hard for a family as the treatment itself. Many children will have to deal with ongoing physical and emotional challenges and the rest of their whānau may also suffer long-term emotional challenges. We support whānau to identify and adjust to these changes, helping them cope in the present while also supporting them to continue moving forward.

The majority of children will live well after their cancer. However, we are dedicated to supporting the loved ones of those children who sadly don’t survive, helping them find a way to go on living without them while cherishing their memory.

Supporting healthy relationships

Connection between families living with childhood cancer is important, as they can often feel isolated from people who aren’t able to understand what they are going through. Our parent retreats, sibling camps and Connect Group activities give whānau opportunities for social connection with others going through a similar experience.

Families may find themselves separated for long periods of time while their child receives treatment. We help families stay connected by offering opportunities for siblings and extended family to visit the sick child and parent in hospital. Whānau are also given the chance to enjoy a holiday together, either at one of our holiday homes in Taupō and Arrowtown or somewhere else in Aotearoa, so they can spend time with each other and create precious memories.

Providing day-to-day emotional support for whānau

Childhood cancer brings many powerful emotions which each family experiences differently. To help them adjust to the unexpected changes in their lives and stay strong for each other, each family has a dedicated Family Support Coordinator. They work closely with whānau to identify where they are coping well and where they need extra support. This connection means whānau are given the specific help they need, as they need it. We provide a holistic model of support, recognising that spiritual and physical wellbeing are important influences on emotional strength.

A unique part of our emotional support is the Beads of Courage® programme, which honours a child’s strength and resilience. Each bead is given to a child as a physical representation of the courage they have shown during a treatment, milestone or experience, and can help acknowledge anxiety about procedures. Siblings of children with cancer can participate in the Beads of Courage® Sibling Programme, which provides recognition of their own emotional journey.

Lessening the financial impact of childhood cancer

Childhood cancer can put a lot of strain on a family’s finances. At least one parent usually has to take time off work to care for their sick child, which can make providing for the rest of the family and meeting financial commitments difficult. Everyday expenses can quickly become a burden for some families, so we provide short-term financial support for unexpected costs. Family Support Coordinators work with whānau to help them adapt to their new situation and find ways to manage the financial impact of childhood cancer on their family.

Helping whānau maintain control of their lives

Having a child with cancer can cause day-to-day challenges that families are unlikely to have experienced before. Our Family Support Coordinators work with each whānau to help them identify their strengths and capabilities so they know they have the tools to overcome any setbacks. Offering opportunities for respite, both for parents and the family as a whole, is an important part of this to ensure they are able to rest, re-energise and regain the strength to carry on.

Encouraging families to look to the future

For some families, the difficulties of childhood cancer don’t end when the treatment ends. Life is never the same again and getting used to a new normal can be just as hard for a family as the treatment itself. Many children will have to deal with ongoing physical and emotional challenges and the rest of their whānau may also suffer long-term emotional challenges. We support whānau to identify and adjust to these changes, helping them cope in the present while also supporting them to continue moving forward.

The majority of children will live well after their cancer. However, we are dedicated to supporting the loved ones of those children who sadly don’t survive, helping them find a way to go on living without them while cherishing their memory.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Helping Kiwis better understand different types of childhood cancer

In 2020, we recognised Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by helping Kiwis better understand different types of childhood cancer and how they impact on the lives of tamariki in Aotearoa.

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