‘It does your heart Good’ | Kindness Matters

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‘It does your heart Good’ by Neil Symington, Cancer Fund for Children’s Community Services Manager

These are not uncommon words we hear from some of the families we support.  In this case it was a parent who attended our ‘Celebrating YOUth Event’, an evening to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of young people who participated in our groupwork programmes last year.

Indeed, it is language we hear not only from families, but from our staff, volunteers, and the many visitors to our therapeutic short break facility, Daisy Lodge, in Newcastle Co. Down.

You see, what these words also refer to, is an awareness that the children, young people, and families we support are living with unimaginable complexity, uncertainty, adversity and at times pain. Yet, more often than not, what they display is energy, enthusiasm, happiness, and strength.

Working with families impacted by cancer is life giving

Working with families impacted by cancer is life giving, which you may think strange. Like many other organisations our support extends to end of life and continues when a child or parent dies. Despite the pain, uncertainty, and the physical and emotional impact of cancer we are surrounded by so much warmth, energy and boundless kindness and compassion.

Those who look in from the outside, often question their own ability to provide this support, yet those of us who work with families, feel nothing but privileged and fortunate. It is hugely important work, with clarity, purpose, and honesty at its core.

Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is ‘Kindness’. Of course, considering where we are at globally with the current Covid-19 pandemic, the motivation and rationale for choosing ‘Kindness’ is clear. Over these last few months stories of ‘Kindness’ have been shared daily and this has brought families, communities and society closer together and has helped keep our hope for the future intact.

Compassion is closely aligned with kindness – it is feeling empathy towards others and having a desire to help those who are experiencing hardship, suffering or distress.

Compassion and Kindness

It is ‘Compassion and Kindness’ that helped establish Cancer Fund for Children, has enabled us to support many families over the decades and ensures that young people and families impacted by cancer will continue to be supported in the future. It is:

  • The kindness of a young girl living with cancer making slime at home and selling it around her own community to raise money.
  • The kindness of our volunteers who give of their own time every week, to provide complementary therapies, attend residentials, welcome families to our short break centre or collect money in the pouring rain.
  • The kindness of so many families who bravely tell their cancer stories to encourage and inspire others, to raise awareness of our work and to help us raise vital funds.
  • The kindness of a local joiner who over the year sends us vouchers and gifts to support children and families, always wanting to remain anonymous.
  • The kindness of so many local businesses who fundraise, offer gifts, and provide their services as a gift in kind.
  • The kindness of mums and dads offering their time to talk to other parents who may be newly diagnosed themselves or have a newly diagnosed child.
  • The kindness of a young man whilst lying in hospital being treated for cancer, planning how he can give back, raise money and volunteer to support other teenagers.
  • The kindness and compassion of our staff team who meet families with warmth and sensitivity and ensure they do everything they can to provide the right support.
  • The kindness of a mum who has lost her daughter donating concert tickets to other young people impacted by cancer.
  • And so many, many more.

Kindness inspires kindness, it increases our happiness, our connections to others and improves our well-being. “It does your heart good”, has never been a more relevant.

Find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week here

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