Building a Support Network

Families who have experienced cancer will tell you how important it was to have a network of support. Maintaining these relationships may seem unimportant when you want only to focus on your child and the situation at hand. But leaning on others can give you the help and comfort you need to be the best possible support to your child and family.

A few ways to nurture your network

  • Your doctors, clinic nurses and hospital staff are great resources. Get to know them and ask questions.
  • Friends and family will want to help. Let them. And if possible, be prepared to suggest specific ways. Here are some tasks you can consider delegating to ease your family's burdens and schedule. If you are too busy to delegate, ask if someone you trust can serve as a point person to arrange the logistics of helping with:
    • Child care
    • Transportation
    • Helping with schoolwork for child and/or siblings
    • House or yard work
    • Cooking or preparing meals
    • Keeping up with bills
    • Financial advice
    • Praying on your child's behalf
  • Ask teachers and school counselors to help you keep up with your child and siblings school performance and notify you of any academic or emotional struggles.
  • Tips on handling cancer conversations:
    • When someone is struggling to find the right thing to say, let that person know they don't need to say anything. You appreciate them just listening.
    • As time goes on and people continue to ask what's happening to your child, be direct, specific and brief with answers about the medical situation and planned treatments. Doing so allows you to be open with your feelings and maintain your relationships in a healthy way.

Contributing sources: American Cancer Society, Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center, parents of patients of Rocky Mountain Pediatric Hematology Oncology