Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
As well as looking after adults, Friends of the Cancer Centre also works to support children and young people attending the Cancer Centre for treatment. Here are just some of the ways we are making a difference to the lives of young patients and their families.
Renee Reid, Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Clinical Nurse Specialist for Teenagers and Young Adults
Renée is the point of contact for teenagers and young adults going through treatment. For many young people a cancer diagnosis can be a particularly worrying and confusing time, but Renée is on hand to provide a listening ear, information and guidance for these young people. In the words of Renee’s patient, Craig Lindsay: “Renee was and still is much more than a fantastic nurse to me; she is a friend and above all a great person.”
Teenager and Young Adult Day Room
For teenagers and young adults, a stay in hospital can be the most difficult. Giving these young people a space of their own was a key priority for staff in the Cancer Centre. In 2013, with the help of our patron, Pete Snodden, Friends of the Cancer Centre opened a teenager and young adult day room and it’s now a haven in the hospital. With a wide screen TV, games consoles and a kitchen, it offers a place for them to relax with family and friends away from predominantly adult wards.
As well as looking after adults, Friends of the Cancer Centre also works to support children and young people attending the Cancer Centre for radiotherapy treatment. A little welcoming gift is on hand when they first come to radiotherapy and they also have their very own play area, packed full of toys, books and puzzles to distract worried little minds. Our kids zone is also a great distraction for families who often have to bring their children to hospital with them for appointments, giving them a place to pass the time.
Imagine spending your birthday in hospital. Now imagine spending your 18th birthday in hospital. For many of our young patients undergoing treatment, celebrating a birthday in hospital is not unusual as many are unable to take a break from their treatment to celebrate at home with family and friends. While nothing will make up for spending your birthday in hospital, we make sure that our young patients get a little extra attention on their big day and part of that is a special birthday present from us.
There for mum and dad
When a young person is diagnosed with cancer the impact it has on the wider family is immense. Making sure that the parents, siblings and wider family circle have the support they need during what can be a really difficult time is really important to us. Our CNS, Renee is there for parents just as much as she is for the patient, guiding them through every stage, every step of the way. Having a son or daughter with cancer means many hospital visits and long days of waiting on wards and around the hospital. We want to make sure that parents are as comfortable as they can be while they are here. From free tea and coffee in Bridgewater, newspapers and magazines throughout the hospital, to a camp bed that can be put in beside their child if they need to stay the night with them, we’re here to help with the little things that hopefully make the big things that bit easier.