Posts Tagged ‘Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery’

Hardly anything is more shocking than having your doctor look you in the eye and say, “I’m sorry. You have cancer.” Reeling from this news, the most frequent response, especially for a parent, is, “I can’t have cancer. I have children to raise.”

At the same time, the children’s world is in turmoil, often with many unspoken questions, difficult feelings, confusion, and fear: “What is cancer?” “Is it my fault Mom got cancer?” “Will I get cancer?” “Why is my dad not able to play with me?” “Can I give my dad a hug?”

Through the C.L.I.M.B.® (Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery) program, a child will increase his or her knowledge about cancer and its treatment, normalize feelings of sadness, better identify strengths and normalize anxiety, and learn to express and manage anger appropriately. When children finish the C.L.I.M.B.® program they will know that the cancer is not their fault, they are not alone, and will have skills to communicate their needs clearly in a season of uncertainty.

C.L.I.M.B.® was developed by The Children’s Treehouse Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 that led the way in recognizing when a parent or caregiver is diagnosed with cancer it has a profound impact on children of any age.  Since the program’s development over ten years ago, 91 comprehensive cancer centers around the United States have adopted the C.L.I.M.B. ® program to enhance family-centered cancer care and meet the needs of children. In February 2012, The Cancer Center at Kishwaukee Community Hospital will be the first cancer center in the region to offer the C.L.I.M.B. ® program for children ages 6 to 12 whose lives have been touched by cancer of a parent, grandparent, or close friend.

Craig Pressley, LCSW, is the oncology social worker at The Cancer Center at Kishwaukee Community Hospital and is an approved facilitator of the C.L.I.M.B.® program through the Children’s Treehouse Foundation. Pressley has been involved with the C.L.I.M.B.® program for three years and was recently awarded a grant in 2011 to bring the C.L.I.M.B.® program to the community. Pressley said, “C.L.I.M.B.® provides a unique opportunity for children to meet and learn from other kids who have a parent with cancer, through a variety of engaging activities, art, and fun. Although C.L.I.M.B.® is a program for children, it also serves as a support for parents and caregivers to better understand how to talk with their children about their cancer and know they are not alone in their experience.”

This free group meets on Mondays, from Feb. 6 to Mar. 19, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and will be offered throughout the year at The Cancer Center. Dinner is provided each week. Registration is required for this program. To learn more about C.L.I.M.B.® visit www.kishcancercenter.org. To register or to speak with the program facilitator, Craig Pressley, call 815.748.2958.

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