• Caring for a son with cancer

    This New York Times documentary follows the story of Regina Hensley and her son Andrew as he fights an aggressive form of cancer, Ewing’s Sarcoma. For years, Regina Hensley struggled with addiction, even once attempting suicide. When her son Andrew was born, he gave her a reason to live. But when he received his diagnosis at 13 years old, Regina had to search for meaning once again. ‘Without Andrew, I can’t imagine what life would be about.’ -Regina Hensley In response to the documentary, the Times received almost 100 responses from parents who were caring for a sick child. Cancer Advisor Read more [...]

  • Born with cancer

    This article, published by the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, features Carrick Stafford Wood who was born with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a rare type of cancer. Carrick didn’t leave hospital for the first six months of his life, but finally returned home on Christmas Day. “It’s unusual [for a baby to be born with cancer]but it can happen. The most common cancer in newborns is neuroblastoma – a rare cancer of the developing nervous system (…) neuroblastomas and teratomas in newborns are usually very treatable, and most children are cured. Infantile leukemia is hard to treat, but again, with aggressive therapy, we Read more [...]

  • Working through treatment

    In this 11-minute TED Talk, lawyer Sarah Donnelly talks about her experiences working through treatment for breast cancer.  You can find a range of resources on work and study here. “Back at work I handed over the urgent things (…) but at that moment work wasn’t my priority. I was thinking how I was going to tell my friends and family I had cancer. I was wondering if my partner and I would ever have an opportunity to start a family (…) Work was about to play a huge role in my treatment and recovery. My job that would give me Read more [...]

  • Rhi’s story: adjusting to a new normal after cancer treatment

    My son Connor was diagnosed with cancer at three years old. Thankfully he is currently in remission. Now that I finally have spare moments to breathe and reflect upon the whole traumatic journey of childhood cancer I have to admit that one of the most difficult parts was coming home. When my son was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma At the time of diagnosis we lived in Collinsville, a small mining community in rural North Queensland. Initially we were flown to Townsville hospital. After three days and much investigation we were transferred to Brisbane via Royal Flying Doctors. Our oncologist Read more [...]

  • Ritchie’s story: Caring for a child with cancer and Down syndrome

    In January Ritchie Farrugia was told his six-year-old daughter Bella had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia also known as ALL. Bella also has Down syndrome and at the time of diagnosis, Ritchie had already been her full-time carer for the last four years. Cancer Advisor spoke to him about being a dad in a children’s hospital ward and how Down syndrome affects cancer treatment. What’s it like being a dad in a children’s hospital ward? The first few months I stayed at the hospital full-time with Bella. My wife’s back is not too good, not that mine was great but, it was Read more [...]

  • Bereavement and grief

    Bereavement is the loss of someone through death, and grief is our response to loss. The grief that follows a young person’s death lasts a lifetime, and losing a child to cancer is one of the most devastating things that can happen to any family. When your child dies is a booklet from Redkite that uses the real experiences of bereaved parents to help other parents and carers following the death of their child.  It is important to remember that grief is personal and unique – everybody grieves differently and that’s okay. There will be a number of different factors that will Read more [...]

  • Unravel Pediatric cancer … until there is a cure

    Unravel Pediatric Cancer is a US based not-for-profit organisation working to spread knowledge about the realities of childhood cancer. They raise funds to: support research that investigates the causes and mechanisms of paediatric cancer; develop more effective and less toxic treatments; and find a cure. Unravel has produced an infographic to articulate their mission and show some statistics about childhood cancer in the United States.    After her daughter was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), Libby Kranz co-founded Unravel. DIPG is a type of brain cancer which doesn’t respond to chemotherapy and is terminal. She recalls: Her doctor Read more [...]

  • Sharing my cancer story at Sydney Colour Ball 2018

    Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of sharing my cancer story at Sydney Colour Ball 2018 at Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour. The Sydney Colour Ball is an annual, cocktail-style event that raises important funds for Redkite so they can reach even more families affected by cancer and provide them with its essential services. Every year, guests are encouraged to dress up in the colour theme – and this year’s colour was ultraviolet! The fun, party-like atmosphere of the Sydney Colour Ball certainly helped remove any nerves I had about sharing my story. There were lots of good food, drinks Read more [...]

  • Battle Weapons: A coping guide for young people with cancer

    Hi, my name is Nell and I’m the author of Battle Weapons: A coping guide for young people with cancer. I’m also a nurse and a cancer survivor. In high school, when we started the discussion about our future, my career advisor suggested nursing. This really appealed to me; to serve and support people at their most vulnerable is a great honour and privilege. Nursing is very diverse and I wasn’t sure for a long time where I wanted to take it, until I was diagnosed with cancer. I know my life’s purpose is to help those with cancer, particularly young people. Read more [...]

  • “Cancer helped form the person I am” – Sam’s story

    For many years, Sam Alderton-Johnson (30) felt shame and despair when he recalled his memories of suffering from leukaemia as a young boy of 14. “When you’re younger you have this warped idea of what masculinity is,” Sam explains. “I thought that being that very sick kid was a terrible time in my life that I never wanted to engage with, that was until I got older and I realised it had helped form the person I am.” As a teenager, Sam enjoyed sports immensely, however, his life was turned upside down with his diagnosis of leukaemia. He remembers the Read more [...]

  • Kids Kicking Cancer: martial arts therapy

    Kids Kicking Cancer is a not-for-profit organisation that teaches the mind-body techniques of Martial Arts instruction, breath work and meditation to empower children beyond the pain and discomfort of disease. Kids Kicking Cancer now offers help and services to not only cancer patients, but any child in pain from a serious illness. They currently operate the Heroes’ Circle program in America, Canada, Israel and Italy and support ill children and their siblings aged 3-23 years old. Using martial arts therapy, Kids Kicking Cancer staff teaches ill children and their siblings to: Regain a sense of control over the chaos of their Read more [...]

  • Cancer information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

    The Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council Cancer Council NSW has created cancer information resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. One of the resources is Aboriginal cancer journeys: Our stories of kinship, hope and survival is a factsheet and a booklet of stories from Indigenous people affected by cancer. The PDF was created with funding provided by Cancer Australia, the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW and Cancer Council NSW. This page also links to the Aboriginal Cancer Council website with information about cancer, treatment, support and research. It includes information for the community and health workers Read more [...]

  • How my best friend supported me through my cancer journey

    One key life lesson I gained from my cancer journey is the importance of having friends who will provide unwavering support. I am grateful that my best friend, Brock, never left my side. Whether it was helping me catch up on school work, accompanying me to appointments or spending time on weekends to play sports just so I could get my mind off cancer, Brock was a constant figure during a very turbulent time in my life. In my proudest blog for You Can Connect, I share the history of my friendship with Brock and how our friendship helped me Read more [...]

  • Raising a child with cancer as a single mother

    On the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario website, Ashmara talks about raising her daughter as a single mother. Ashmara’s daughter Adaejah also has down syndrome. Cancer Advisor has a range of personal stories, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.

  • “Death doesn’t have to mean failure” – Sacha’s story

    The Guardian in the UK has published Sacha’s story about her son’s end-of-life experience. David, known as DD, was diagnosed with medulloblastoma – a brain tumour – at aged 11. He died five years later. Sacha has since written a book, Follow the Child to help other parents struggling to come to terms with the death of their child. “I consulted four other sets of parents who were passionate about improving end-of-life care,” she explains. “We have laughed and cried and then needed the reassurance of experienced social workers, palliative nurse and paediatric palliative consultants to check our efforts. I only regret that Read more [...]

  • From vulnerability to resilience during childhood cancer

    In this powerful ASCO journal article, a mother reflects on how her family evolved from vulnerability to resilience during childhood cancer. The childhood cancer patient is referred to as Ben, which is a pseudonym. The article explains, “Although this is the story of 4-year-old Ben, we believe that his and his family’s experiences are relevant to patients of any age who have cancer. (We preserve his anonymity to empower him to decide whether and how to tell his story of vulnerability as an adult.)” Empowerment and resilience are the main themes in this article; and ASCO offers practical tips that Read more [...]

  • Finding hope during childhood cancer – Nancy’s story

    Not ‘just’ a moment is a heartfelt and poetic piece written by Nancy Hamner about finding hope, published on the US website 2Surviveonline. Nancy is a mother whose son Ryan was first diagnosed with cancer at aged six. He has survived four occurrences of hodgkin lymphoma during his childhood. In her personal story she offers up pieces of wisdom such as:  Life is not always what it appears; it is possibly never what it looks like. [H]is doctor has given us a plan, and with that is bestowed the option of hope—a place we choose to live. May you see joy and Read more [...]

  • “Avery’s Fight” – a four year old faces leukaemia

    Avery’s Fight is a four-minute long video by The Project which first aired on Network Ten. On the Ten Play website it says, “Four-year-old Avery Beal has spent most of her life in and out of hospital. And just when she thought she was better, she had to buckle up for yet another fight.” Cancer Advisor has a range of personal stories, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.

  • Tips for facing post-treatment side effects

    In this 2Survive blog post, childhood cancer survivor Ryan offers tips for facing post-treatment side effects including: Know Your Drugs Be Ready Follow Up Be A Jerk Cancer Advisor has a range of resources on life after cancer, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.