When my 9yo daughter was diagnosed with cancer 3 years ago, it was absolutely life-changing. Being confronted with something so awful, and suddenly having no other choice but to fight was the stuff nightmares are made of. It was the type of catalyst that forces a parent to take stock of what is really important.
I’ll never forget those first whispers from the surgeon, before and after surgery, away from listening ears. It was the first inkling that something was really wrong. Life would never be the same. Next, came days of tests and the unbearable wait for results, which we hoped wouldn’t be what our gut was telling us. Then came the day, that dreadful day, when we were finally told ‘your daughter has cancer’.
Suddenly, every other day-to-day problem evaporated. The rug was pulled out from under us. It’s difficult to describe just how intense it felt, but I know that only others in the same situation can truly understand. During the months of surgery, recovery, and rounds of chemotherapy, we practically lived at the hospital. I just disappeared from my job, rarely had the inclination to eat, and barely slept. Our complete focus was being with her and doing all we could to get her through while trying to maintain some normality for her brother and keep up a strong front.
During that time, we met the most amazing, brave, incredible kids who were trapped in the battle of their life. I met the parents who were at their wit’s end, trying to make it through from one day to the next. Supporting and comforting their sick children, and trying to keep the wheels turning on other aspects of their lives. Work, siblings, home, bills, etc.
When my daughter’s treatment finished, and we were told she was in remission, we thought our lives could return to normal. Well, that doesn’t happen. Life is changed forever when you have a child diagnosed with cancer. 85% of childhood cancer survivors will have significant health problems in the future, caused by the very treatment that saved their life. The dark cloud never clears, it hangs and haunts.
The whole experience inspired me to try to help the families that follow, so I became a member of the committee for a charity, Kids Cancer Support Group (KCSG), which was started over 30 years ago. It’s my small way of showing the amazing kids and families who are in the midst or their nightmare that there are others who have been there and care.
Before diagnosis, all families who fight children’s cancer are families without children’s cancer. It does not discriminate. It can make you feel … lost. – S.W. Lothian
So, this post has become a lot longer than I intended. It was supposed to be a short couple of lines about a new initiative of books for kids with cancer. But, obviously, I’ve shared some thoughts and memories that have come to mind.
One of the projects that we are about to set up is a small library in the waiting area of the Oncology ward at the Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital, here in my home city, Perth. Unfortunately, the waiting area is always busy and continuously used by families who are living the battle every day.
Our aim at KCSG is to continually keep our little library stocked with new books, which the kids and families can choose and keep, or read and leave for another family to enjoy. The books to keep will be tied with gold ribbon (the symbol for children’s cancer awareness) and a gift tag ‘With love, from Kids Cancer Support Group’.
So, now I hope you see where my story is leading. Our charity runs completely on the generosity and donations from our supporters, and as such we need to source some books for our shelves. Given that many of you are authors or book enthusiasts, I thought I would put out a call to see if there were any visitors who may be able to donate some new books that we can use to keep our little library stocked.
Now, before you jump in and say ‘YES’, I’d just like you to note that I am located in Australia, and as such your decision would have to consider any postage costs that you may incur to send any books.
If you are interested in supporting our little library, please complete the form below and I’ll be in touch with more details. Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Believe me, I know it’s not the easiest subject to read about, but it’s an important one. I hope you can help.
To end this post I’ve included a video that I created in September last year, which was aimed at raising children’s cancer awareness. It features children who have all found themselves part of our local cancer community here in Perth. Please take the time to watch it.