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Hospital Over the Holidays

Happy Holidays from our Family to Yours.

Hopefully, most of you reading have finished your Holiday shopping and are getting ready for a relaxing few days by the fire surrounded by Family and Friends. 

We always strive at Carley’s Angels to give you, our Carley’s Angels Family, an accurate look into the world of families battling cancer. We think it’s important to understand what tremendous difficulties they face. We also feel so fortunate to share the impact your support is making on these families. 

So thanks to the Social Work team at SickKids and our very own Carley’s Angels Psychosocial Oncology Fellow we have been given a peek behind the curtain in what we call “Hospital over the Holidays” 

Christmas and the holiday season are a happy and joyous time, reuniting with family and friends. But this time of year can also be very stressful. The holidays are always a difficult time for cancer patients and their families. 

The holiday season can bring about feelings of being overwhelmed, sadness, loss, separation and loneliness, amplified for those families whose holidays are happening at the Hospital with a child facing Cancer. 

Thanks to the empathetic and talented Social Work team at SickKids including our very own Carley’s Angels Psychosocial Oncology fellow, supports are now embedded in the treatment plans for these children and families. 

If you were to find your family in the hospital during the holiday season with a cancer diagnosis this amazing team would cover the following topics to ensure your mental health and mindfulness needs are well addressed and strengthened. Because conquering cancer is about the whole person, mind and body. 

Some topics they cover and help patients and families move through are to.. 

  • Acknowledge that while some things are out of your control, there are some things are in your control.
  • Be flexible. This is a time of adjustment into possibly new traditions. 
  • Find acceptance this season for what it is, not what it used to be. Try and find the mini-miracles in this moment to celebrate
  • Be honest with yourself and those around you about what you need
  • Be patient. Family and friends can be unaware of the emotions/experiences around having a child in hospital and they may be busy with their families and may forget this holiday will be different for you and your family
  • Reach out to one or two people who can empathize with you about the holiday

Social Work staff including The Carley’s Angels Psychosocial Oncology Fellow, work with patients and their families around feelings and emotions that surface during this time. They help families to process the emotions and support the family in planning for the holiday season ahead. This also includes connecting the family with external and internal resources that can help provide some holiday spirit.

One of those internal programs championed by Child Life at SickKids ensures that the spirit of the Holidays come right to the children in the hospital. No Christmas spirit will be lost on their watch, they make sure Santa visits each room on Christmas morning! 

Adapted from Sonia, Shawna of Social Work at SickKids. 

The innovative and forward-thinking SickKids knows that cancer treatment is not only about chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. They know and practice that it is much more multi-dimensional than that. They ensure that mental health, mindfulness, nutrition and other supports are embedded into the care of these families. But of course, they don’t stop there, they go above and beyond to give each child and family the most meaningful Holiday experience possible. We are so grateful at Carley’s Angels to be apart of this Integrative Cancer Care approach by funding the first-of-its-kind at SickKids, Psychosocial Oncology Fellowship. 

Thanks to you, our Carley’s Angels Family, we have already impacted the lives of so many families battling cancer, and we can’t wait to impact MANY MANY more. 

Happy Holidays

Sincerely,

Your Carley’s Angels

DONATE HERE and help us support programs like Psychosocial Oncology. Still have people on your list? Well, a donation in their honour makes for a pretty meaningful gift. 

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