Family and Friends
Friends and relatives can help ease the trauma of retinoblastoma with loving words and actions.
Well placed words of comfort and encouragement, practical help and a quiet supportive presence can lessen the daily challenges of fighting childhood eye cancer.
The diagnosis is like an earthquake. Shockwaves rip through extended family, friends and the wider community.
Families experience wide ranging responses to their child’s cancer, from dedicated support to conflict and desertion.
Sometimes family and friends are not able to help in practical ways, even though they care. Events and commitments in your own life may be too great, or you may struggle to cope with the illness. Most often, people who care deeply feel unable to help simply because they do not know what to say, or fail to understand what is helpful.
In this section, you will find suggestions of how you can help, from practical, emotional and financial support to giving helpful gifts and finding the right words (and avoiding harmful ones).
Experiences, thoughts and suggestions are shared by families who have faced retinoblastoma. We hope they will guide you along the journey as caring supporters of an affected family.
“Let me know if I can do anything to help” often puts unintended stress on the family. Be proactive. Ask what needs doing or offer to do something specific, then do it.
Now more than ever, the parents, affected child and siblings need unconditional friendship. There are many different ways you can support and encourage them.
Supporting a financially overwhelmed family may help avoid a money meltdown. Many parents place this gift closely after their child’s life.
Giving gifts helps us feel we are making things better. Think creatively, and consider the true value of your gift in the context of fighting the child’s cancer.
Children develop social skills by interacting with other children. So maintaining friendships is particularly important for the young child with cancer.
The richest language can seem totally inadequate in times of great personal trial. However, some of the simplest words can bring great strength and encouragement.
Stress and fatigue heighten sensitivity, and well meant words can sometimes be very hurtful to the family of a child with cancer.
Real Holiday Season spirit is found by sharing hope, peace and friendship. Read a mother’s memory, and tips to support families through the Holidays.