Helping Families Living through Childhood Cancer Feel Seen
Written by guest contributor Jaime Newton
As a pediatric hematology/oncology nurse, I have met some amazing kiddos and their families who have all impacted me forever. Each day, I get the opportunity to serve these families as a nurse. I am so thankful God chose me for this career—it is such a beautiful and fulfilling job.
Throughout my days as a nurse, I have had the chance to see just how amazing these kiddos’ parents are.
To the parent living through childhood cancer, I see you. I see you curled up next to your child in the crib on long nights. I see you putting on a smile even when it’s hard. I see you asking the tough questions, and I see you advocating for your child every step of the way. I see the parent who has to go to work and come back after a long day just to spend a few hours hugging your child. I see the parent who is doing this fight alone. I see you wake up in the middle of the night to wipe tears. I see you do all the little things just to get a laugh. I see you pushing the IV pole around just to get out of the room for a few minutes. I see you care in big and small ways. You are seen.
To any parent living with a child fighting childhood cancer, I hope you know you are not on this journey alone. You are seen for all of the little and big things you do each day to make your child’s journey through childhood cancer better. You are loved. You are an amazing parent.
To all of the people in someone’s corner who has a child fighting childhood cancer, you help these families feel seen. There are many things I have witnessed individuals do to support their loved ones while they have a child in the hospital. Oftentimes I believe that people want to help out, but they feel paralyzed because they just don’t know how to help. Here are some small ways I have seen someone love on these families to remind them they are not alone: Send a note to the patient’s hospital room. Many hospitals have ways for a note to be delivered straight to the patient and their family (oftentimes this is free).
Offer to watch their other children while they are at the hospital with their child.
Food. These families can be at the hospital for weeks at a time, so offer to bring them food to the hospital, or make food for the family members that are at home. I personally know how much a simple home-baked good can make a day better.
Call to just check-in.
Pray for them.
Raise awareness and funding for childhood cancer research.
Ask them what they need.
We are all just trying to bring a little JOY into this world, so take some time after you read this to bring some JOY into a family's life that has a child battling cancer and help these families feel loved and seen.
Jaime Newton is a pediatric oncology/hematology nurse who loves Jesus, traveling, drinking coffee, and finding the best tacos in each new town she travels to. She has served with Lighthouse Family Retreat as both Summer Staff and a Medical Lead, and Jaime loves all things Lighthouse!