Abby’s Heroes, a children’s cancer charity has recently funded a part-time role at Southampton General Hospital to support siblings of children diagnosed with cancer.
The post announced during UK Charity Week is thought to be a first in the UK and will aim to improve the wellbeing of siblings and families when they are at their most vulnerable. Children receiving cancer treatment have access to a Clinical Psychologist. Still, for siblings, who also live through and beyond the cancer experience, there is no provision to support their mental and emotional health. A cancer diagnosis disrupts every area of family life, routines and finances and can leave children feeling isolated and neglected. Too often siblings are unable to share their feelings and whilst each sibling’s experience is unique, there are common themes of shock, fear, anxiety, anger, jealously, uncertainty, confusion and guilt which, if not addressed, can have far-reaching implications at the time or in later life.
Sally Randall, Chief Executive of Abby’s Heroes, said:
“We are so proud to be funding this much-needed role. The impact on the siblings is almost immeasurable. Having a much-loved brother or sister diagnosed with cancer has the ability to affect a child’s mental well-being both now and indeed later on in their lives. We really hope that this role will give children a voice to a Clinical Psychologist who will then give them the tools they need to cope with their sibling’s diagnosis. We are incredibly grateful to all our Fundraisers and Corporate Sponsors who have helped make this possible.”
The post is initially for a two year period and will provide much-needed help as well as evidence of the effect on siblings.
For further information, please go to www.abbysheroes.org