A group of children sit around a large round board game laid out on the floor. A young girl is kneeling with her body stretched out across the board as she takes her turn.

Child Life Specialists in Schools: Supporting Children With Cancer

Children need a lot of support when they begin or return to school after treatment for cancer.  Child Life Specialist and Elementary School Teacher, Meagan Fuller, explores how child life specialists in schools can help children with retinoblastoma adjust to school life, understand their experience, and find healthy ways to talk with peers about their cancer and visual impairment.

A fuzzy, brown teddy bear sits on a table with a blue table cloth. The bear has red and black plaid feet, a cream snout, black eyes, a brown nose, and a black smile. A nasograstric tube and a gastrostomy tube are inserted, and an IV pole and IV fluids are seen to the side. Behind the bear is a teddy bear sized hospital bed and a green curtain.

Play – The Key Ingredient to Pediatric Medical Care

Play is the language, university, and business of childhood. Medical play is a key part of child-focused health care, helping young patients learn, reduce fear, and take part in their care. Sophie Goldberg, child life intern and student of Child Life and Pediatric Psychosocial Care, explores what medical play is, and how you can use it to empower your child through their medical experiences.

A high doorway is framed by two Christmas trees, each standing about 10ft tall. They are exquisitely decorated with hundreds of gold lights, pink glass roses, and other ornaments that reflect and refract the light. A large banqueting table is set up in the centre, surrounded by high back red velvet chairs that contrast beautifully against the glittering gold candelabras. Gold crackers and sparkling goblets at each place setting hint at the anticipated party. Along the centre of the table, intricate models in cream, glitter and gold show scenes from the story of Cinderella. On the left of frame is the glittering expanse of a fairy-tale castle. To the right, two ladies gesture and watch the pumpkin carriage racing away over a bridge. Further right, Prince Charming stands below a clock tower as the hands point to midnight, and Cinderella races away down a flight of stairs, a single glittering slipper lost behind her. Almost off-frame, a chair is pictured, in which someone is sitting to try on a shoe. The overall setup is glittering splendour. The high doorway, significantly higher ceiling, very large, tall trees, and several statues between them, give the impression of a grand, spacious room out-of-frame.

12 Ways to Inclusive Festive Fun: How to Celebrate the Holidays with Your Child Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired – Part 2

The glorious visual spectacle of this Holiday Season can exclude and isolate a child with vision loss from retinoblastoma, but we can experience these traditions with all our senses. In part 2 of this festive blog, bilateral Rb Survivor, Abby White, shares six more ways to include blind and visually impaired children in Holiday traditions, creating delight for the whole family.

Six soft jute cloth bags in colours of earthy red, green, and gold sit in a row. They showcase two displaying kinds of tactile embellishment. On 3 bags, carved wooden tags shaped like a gingerbread man, Christmas tree and star clearly display the dates as raised tactile numbers. On the other three, foam stickers shaped like a tree, love heart and stocking, the numbers are large tactile cut-outs.

12 Ways to Inclusive Festive Fun: How to Celebrate the Holidays with Your Child Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired – Part 1

When a child has vision loss from retinoblastoma, highly visual aspects of this Holiday Season can be challenging, exclusionary and isolating. But a little thought and creative adaptation can completely change the experience. In part 1 of this 2-part blog, bilateral Rb Survivor, Abby White, shares 12 ways to include blind and visually impaired children in traditional Holiday activities.

The book When sadness is at your door by Eva Eland sits on a child’s lap as they hold it. The book is opened to a page showing an illustration of a child standing on a tree stump hugging a blue shadow that is their sadness. The text on the page reads “Maybe all it wants to know is that it is welcome”.

How to Help Your Child Work Through BIG Emotions

Young children are often overwhelmed by big emotions in the natural process of their development. When they face ongoing stressors like cancer or a pandemic, giving them support, tools and skills to learn about and work through their emotions is critical. Child life specialist Rebekah Reimer provides some practical guidance to help.

A cream deconrated stone lays on a bed of grey stones. The word “Breathe” is written across the stone in flowing black script, accented with white dots. The portion of stone below the word is decorated with waves and water droplets in light, mid and dark blue, and mid green. They are all outlined in a series of tiny white dots.

Breathing for Wellness: Why Breath Matters, and 8 Ways to Breathe Out Stress

When we are anxious or angry, we tense up and hold our breath, or breathe fast and shallow, further increasing stress. Slow, deep breathing almost instantly diffuses tension, helping us feel calm, clear-headed and in control. Abby White explores why our bodies react this way, and how we can use our breath to restore calm fast.

Marissa smiles as she holds a gold Kendra Scott jewelry box in her left hand and a One Retinoblastoma World 2017 program in her right hand. She is wearing a grey top and the Elisa Gold Triple Strand Necklace in Ivory Mother-of-Pearl. The necklace combines three chains with unique personalities and Kendra Scott’s iconic oval shape to create a layered look. The photo is taken outside, where a Stars and stripes flag is visible in the top right background.

Give Back This September with Kendra Scott

Our first virtual family event was a great success, with added sparkle from Kendra Scott jewelry. Please help us support more families by shopping at KendraScott.com on Sat 12 – Sun 13 September. They’ll donate to WE C Hope 20% of sales made using code GIVEBACK8400. Shine gold this September Childhood Cancer Month.

A female adult plays patient, cared for by a group of children dressed in medical outfits. She wears an eye patch on her left eye, and the children put bandaids on her arms. One of the children is wearing an anaesthetic mask.

Child Life Programs: Play With Purpose at Retinoblastoma Gatherings

Eye cancer is a potentially overwhelming experience for young children, whether patient or sibling. Child life can radically improve care and life for the entire family, but too many children lack access to this specialist support. Abby White shares how WE C Hope supported Child Life programs are helping to change that.

Against a background of brightly coloured musical notes and butterflies, text reads: “Ah Music, a magic beyond all we do here.” Albus Dumbledore.

#TuesdayTunes: Songs With Meaning

Throughout this year, we have shared monthly #TuesdayTunes on our social media – songs chosen by parents, survivors and professionals in our retinoblastoma community because of their special personal meaning.  As the year draws to a close, we gather together all this beautiful music and insight, and welcome in the new decade with heart.

Five smooth pebbles are stacked in decreasing size on a beach, where lively surf rolls into shore. The high sky is clear blue, with a few clouds above the horizon, which is lightly tinged with a pale peachy glow of sunrise or sunset.

Mindfulness Tips for Retinoblastoma Families and Supporting Teachers

Living with the daily effects of childhood eye cancer can be overwhelming, for all family members. Both the immediate crisis of diagnosis and treatment, and the long-term impacts and risks. Child Life Intern and Student Teacher, Meagan Fuller, highlights some simple mindfulness techniques parents and children can use to ease daily tension.