‘I was a broken vase who learned to put the pieces back together but stronger’.
These are powerful words from mum Fiona Brown, a guest speaker at Cancer Fund for Children’s inaugural Parent Education Day which took place on Thursday 11th April in our therapeutic short break facility, Daisy Lodge.
This Education Day was for parents who have a child recently diagnosed with cancer. The focus for the session was helping parents improve how they cope with stress and anxiety.
Cancer Fund for Children’s Education Days have been developed in response to need for greater emotional support for parents who are struggling with their child’s cancer. Parents who come to Daisy Lodge, for a short break during their child’s treatment, often report that they neglect their own self-care and cite the detrimental impact that living for a prolonged period of time in a hype- vigilant state has on their physical, mental and emotional well-being.
A range of guest speakers shared their knowledge and expertise, and parents shared personal stories of their tips for coping with the impact a childhood cancer diagnosis has on family life. The programme also included interactive workshops facilitated by our team of Cancer Support Specialists and Complementary Therapists.
Guest speakers included Paul Tracey, from Healthier Self. Paul is an NLP Master Practitioner and well-being consultant. His talk focused s on helping people with the mental side of their physical health and well-being, in particular helping those who have received a significant diagnosis of illness.
Another guest speaker was Fiona Brown, whose family were supported by Cancer Fund for Children when her daughter Ellie was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2012. Fiona gave a realistic account of her experience of childhood cancer, and the effects that living with prolonged uncertainty had had on her. She also provided advice on how she managed the ongoing anxiety of coping with the impact of her daughter’s life changing illness.
Speaking about the Education Day Raph O’Connor, Cancer Fund for Children’s Therapeutic Services Manager commented,
“We have witnessed first-hand the reluctance of parents to embrace the notion of self-care, not always through choice but through necessity, as they plough their time and energy into meeting their family’s need teamed with unpredictability of a serious illness.
During the Education Day parents were encouraged to step away from the suffering for a short while, replenish their inner resources in order to engage in the battle that tomorrow may bring. The feedback following this event was extremely positive and are very much looking forward to hosting our next Education Day later this year”
A parent who attended the session commented,
“It was lovely to meet some of the other parents. Paul and Fiona were genuinely inspiring – please pass on my thanks for their words of wisdom! It was reassuring to hear others were having similar experiences. As always Daisy Lodge was a welcome breath of fresh air- the people and the food were as spectacular as the scenery – which is saying something.”
Cancer Fund for Children understand the devastating impact a cancer diagnosis and its treatment can have on the whole family and beyond the essential clinical care, there is a family life that needs rebuilt.
We provide practical and emotional support to young people (0-24) diagnosed with cancer and young people who have a parent diagnosed with cancer, and their families.
Find out more about our Parent Education days here.