Seven ways you can help when a friend’s child is diagnosed with cancer

Advice from Natasha, mum to Sebastian, who was diagnosed with cancer of the bowel at 18 months old.

Sebastian boy mum and day on beach


Tell your child the truth as they will sense it anyway
We used hold Sebastian down for his port access and NG tubes but we would tell him it will be a quick ouchy and then it will feel better. It’s heart-breaking seeing your child in pain but if you tell them it won’t hurt they won’t trust you when you actually mean it.

If you’re at the Marsden or a hospital with parent washing machines
Take your washing powered and softener it makes you feel so much better having clean clothes that smell like home.

Most of all cry and talk when you need to
In oncology you become one big family everyone understands each other’s pain.

Ask friends and family to visit
When you are in hospital for weeks on end those few hours visits really give you something to focus on.

Don’t Google anything
We didn’t Google but know people that did and they found some really damming stuff. Every child is different so listen to your consultants not goggle.

Meals are vital
We didn’t have a hot meal for two weeks after Sebastian’s diagnosis and when we finally had one it made us feel so much better. If friends and family can bring you meals let them.

Listen to your instincts
You know your child better than anyone. You will have to become their advocate and fight for them. Ask questions whenever you need to.

Newsletter icon
Newsletter icon

Sign up to our e-newsletter today

Sign up to our e-newsletter and receive exclusive stories straight to your inbox. You will also find out about our latest childhood cancer research news along with updates on our fundraising events, charity news and opportunities to support us. Don’t miss out!

By signing up to this newsletter I agree to receive general and financial appeal emails from Children with Cancer UK