Mom's Advice On Cancer
Did you know each year an estimated 400,000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide each year? Where can those kids go to feel like they aren’t alone? What can they read? Is there a character who they can relate to?
Sarah Bankuti is a mom on a cancer journey with her 4-year-old daughter Alice and created a series of books for children with serious illnesses where they are the main character. Sarah’s books, The Princess Lily Series, have helped hundreds of kids, and also give back to charity with each book sold.
In Her Own Words
After my daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer at 11 months old I created a children’s book series for children with cancer and other serious illnesses. I have self published these books as I want my daughter to see herself represented in the books she reads.
Alice was 10 months old when she was diagnosed with brain cancer. She has completed 17 months of chemotherapy and a trial drug. Like many children with cancer, she has been diagnosed with PTSD which is one of the reasons I started writing children’s books to help her and other children with what they are going through.
All characters in my series are inspired by children with serious illnesses that I have come to know. All characters are brave, strong and empowering – just like all sick kids warriors are.
I was not a writer before but I have always loved reading. I have been in childcare for about 10 years and have read so many children’s books. Being in childcare also put me in a great position to write books because I would always tell the kids my stories to see if they liked them or not. I self-publish the books in The Princess Lily Series so I can donate as many as I can to Children’s Hospitals and childhood cancer families worldwide.
Words of Wisdom to Support a Family
One thing I would say on what NOT to say (and it may seem strange) but do not ask them to reach out if there is anything you can do. By saying this you are asking the family to get in contact and ask for help. This is not likely going to happen. Cancer families have so much going on – especially when a child is first diagnosed. Instead of asking, just go ahead and do something.
The following is my advice on what to say/do to help a childhood cancer family.
– Drop off cooked meals/freezer food or food gift cards.
– Offer to take care of any pets. Whether the family is staying in hospital or not they probably have little energy to take care of pets. if you can offer to come by and walk the dog, spend time with the cat or feed the fish.
– Offer help with any siblings. This I feel is a very important one. It is very hard for siblings and they get left out a lot. Can you organize a playdate with them? Offer to drop them off/pick them up from school? Give them some extra attention?
– Come by and do laundry or clean. When our daughter was first diagnosed my husband and I took it in turns staying with her. Laundry just piled up and it was hard finding the time and energy to do it.
– Listen. Just listen to the parents as they talk as we need to be able to shout/vent/cry and feel heard.
– Leave a note in their mailbox saying you are thinking of them.