Q. I'm a kindergarten teacher and one of my students is going through a rough time because his mom has cancer and is undergoing treatments. Since she is not well, she does not have a ton of energy to play with him. We are concerned that over the summer he will go backwards by not socializing with other children. Any suggestions for free to cheap summer camp options for him? Or other resources? He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

A.

Navigating a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and difficult, especially as a young adult caring for a young child. It seems that your student’s mother may be in need of support for herself so that she can better understand the impact of her diagnosis and how it affects her son. We provide a publication to help parents talk to their children about cancer. You may want to provide your student’s mother with this publication, in addition to CancerCare’s information. CancerCare provides free counseling services and financial assistance for cancer patients; you can reach us at 800-813-HOPE (4673) to speak directly with an oncology social worker about our services and how to get involved. We can help young adult patients to better understand what they are going through and assist in cope with the emotional and physical changes someone may experience during treatment. Receiving a cancer diagnosis as a young adult presents several challenges and can feel isolating. Let your student’s mother know that there are support options available for her and that she is not alone.

We also offer in-office counseling services for children as young as 5 years old. You may want to speak to your student’s mother to see if she wants to reach out for support for her son. Our children’s program, CancerCare for Kids, may be able to help your student understand his mother’s diagnosis and talk about how her cancer diagnosis has impacted him.

Additional resources include:

  • Camp Good Days, located in upstate New York, provides free summer camp options for any child who has been affected by cancer.
  • KidsKonnected is another great resource for children that have a parent with cancer to help educate, support and inform children about their parent’s cancer.
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