Inspired creations to help children through cancer treatment
17th Nov, 2017
Cancer. It's a word that sends shivers down our spines. We all know someone who has been affected by cancer, but when that someone just happens to be a child, it's infinitely harder to imagine their suffering.
Cancer treatment for a child is scary and uncomfortable. It's difficult explaining to someone so young why they have to lie down in a big machine or have therapy without their parents in the room with them. These frightening and confusing experiences have inspired people to come up with some clever and very unique ways of helping children and young people get through their cancer treatments.
The 'Magic String'
Radiotherapy Play Specialist, Lobke Marsden, displayed a simple but effective way of keeping children in contact with parents during radiotherapy. She posted on Twitter:
'Children will be in the treatment room by themselves during radiotherapy. To help ease separation anxiety, the child holds one side of the string and the parent the other side, so they've still got that connection.'
Lobke also hand-paints radiotherapy masks to look like children's favourite superheroes and fictional characters!
Olly the Brave
The people behind childhood cancer charity, Molly Olly's Wishes, came up with a special (not to mention cuddly) friend to go on the treatment journey with young patients. Olly the Brave is a stuffed lion toy that can shed his mane and has a Hickman line coming from his chest. The Molly Olly’s Wishes website says:
'When children are newly diagnosed with any life-threatening or terminal illness, the shock to both parents and patients is immense. The hospital environment, full of new sights, sounds and smells, can be disturbing.
They are very quickly thrown into an environment alien to them and have to take in a whole new world of procedures, language and interactions with doctors, nurses and other health professionals.'
'[Olly the Brave packs] are given to children needing a central or Hickman line, enabling medication or nutritional support to be administered and bloods to be taken without the repeated use of needles. Olly has his own line and also has a detachable mane that helps to explain and normalise the hair-loss that comes with many types of chemotherapy.'
The charity also had a storybook called 'Olly the Brave and The Wigglys' created to explain the cancer diagnosis and the preparation for the operation to install central or Hickman lines.
The cuddly lion and book can be provided to young cancer patients as a package either directly via the charity's website or through the patient's hospital.
End of treatment bells
Any achievement should be acknowledged in some way, but when it's something as remarkable as reaching your final session of cancer treatment, it deserves something extra special! Lots of NHS hospitals across the UK now have a bell ready and waiting to be rung by a patient when finished their last course of treatment.
The bell not only gives patients something to strive for but allows young people to get excited about something at a time when they are so unwell.
The KittenScanner by Philips
They might be MRI scanners to us, but to children, they are those big, noisy machines that look terrifying. Adults find MRI/CT exams frightening so imagine what it must be like for a child!
The creative brains at Philips came up with an ingenious idea to help young patients understand what will happen during an exam. The KittenScanner (a clever play on CAT scan) is a scaled-down replica of a real Philips MRI machine. The patient can play with the replica, using it to make scans of purpose-built toys. Amazing!
Find out more about the Philips KittenScanner.
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