A collaborative report launched this week finds children’s cancer services in Northern Ireland benefit from cutting-edge support provided by Cancer Fund for Children.
On Tuesday 4th June ‘19 a research team led by Dr Karen Galway, Lecturer in Mental Health from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast, launched a new report in collaboration with Cancer Fund for Children and Ulster University.
The launch took place at Daisy Lodge, Cancer Fund for Children’s incredible purpose built residential centre, exclusively for children, young people and families impacted by cancer to retreat, relax and rejuvenate, in the peace and tranquillity of the Mourne Mountains.
The report; “Literature review and mapping of supportive services for children and young people with cancer” reviews 20+ years of international research on the benefits of psychosocial supportive services for children and young people with cancer. The evidence was categorised and mapped into the areas of hospital, community and residential support services provided by Cancer Fund for Children.
Across the services provided by Cancer Fund for Children, the collaborative team pinpointed features of Cancer Fund for Children’s services that match those in the published literature that have a positive impact on how young people with cancer cope and adjust.
The most robust international evidence suggests therapeutic ‘camps’ and short breaks, coping skills programmes and informal time and space for peer support can improve family communications and help young people with cancer make transitions back to school and into survivorship. The mapping indicates that the NI based charity is working at the cutting-edge of the evidence base and also pioneering new and innovative support for children and young people with cancer.
The launch featured highlights from the report as well as an update on development plans from Cancer Fund for Children’s Interim CEO, Phil Alexander. A very impressive personal insight was shared by one teenager, Zoe Gilmore, who reflected on how beneficial Cancer Fund for Children’s services were for her when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour at 15 years old.
Speaking at the launch Zoe commented,
“One of the biggest challenges I faced was feeling like I being treated differently by my friends and family. Going on residential with Cancer Fund for Children was amazing. I got to meet other young people going through a similar experience, and have fun. Nobody treated each other differently because of our diagnosis. We were all the same. It was amazing getting to know other young people the same age, knowing that they have dealt with the same thing I had experienced. Thanks to Cancer Fund for Children I know how to express my feelings more, because bottling things up doesn’t help.”
The event was attended by Cancer Fund for Children’s team of Cancer Support Specialists, representatives from The Teenage Cancer Trust and other leading cancer charities in NI, as well as specialists from NI’s acute cancer services and leading academics working in psychooncology.
Guests gathered after the launch to discuss how to move forward with the collaborative work, to address the gaps in the evidence base and to extend our collaboration to the global community, working to improve services for children and young people experiencing cancer.
L-R, Mr Phil Alexander, Interim CEO at CFC, Dr Cherith Semple, Reader in Clinical Cancer Nursing at Ulster University and Head and Neck Cancer Specialist at SEHSCT, Mr Raph O’Connor Daisy Lodge Service Manager and Dr Karen Galway, from Queen’s University Belfast who leads the research collaboration.
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