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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Even Kids with Cancer Just Wanna Have Fun

We all know that cancer sucks. There isn’t any better way to put it – it sucks. It’s ugly, it’s painful and it’s terrifying. It’s even worse when a child is suffering from cancer. Whether you’re a family member, a friend or a neighbor, everyone is impacted in some way when a community member is suffering.

One of my favorite things about children is their unstoppable enthusiasm. No matter their circumstances in life, they’re always optimistic and excited for any opportunity to have fun.

When children are going through treatment, they experience a wide range of physical and emotional levels of fatigue. It’s important to keep physical limitations in mind when living with cancer patients, but I would argue that it is even MORE important to make sure everyone is living their life to the fullest. 

Even Kids with Cancer Just Wanna Have Fun 

Depending on level of treatment or degree of progress, the following suggestions are things you can do as a family/community to make sure the children in your life – fighting for theirs – never lose sight of fun and excitement.

Get Active 

Countless studies have shown that physical activity brightens mood. Even more, physical activity promotes general health and wellness. You can share with a fighter (child beating/fighting cancer) that not only are they getting healthy, you’re getting healthy with them. Consider some of the following activities:
  • Long family walks – preferably with a dog!
  • Bike rides and the occasional bike race (friendly, of course!)
  • Go to the playground/park
  • Play tag in the front/back yard
  • Play catch
  • Soccer, anyone?

There are countless physical things you can do as a family. Find what you’re interested in and what you can participate in with your fighter.

Get Adventurous 

There’s nothing better than a good adventure to take your mind off of the mundane. Children have a special gift of imagination, rendering “adventure” as something that doesn’t have to go far. Try some of the following:
  • A family boating trip
  • Theme park vacation – there’s nothing like the thrill of a rollercoaster
  • Camping/hiking – everyone kid like sleeping in a ten
  • Road trip to “weird” places
  • Backyard treasure hunts
  • Day trips to the beach

Get Creative 

Children are endlessly creative – fighters ever the more so in many ways. Using imagination takes everyone out of their current circumstances (often circumstances we’d rather not think about) and into a world where anything is possible. To aid your journey to this world, try some of the following:
  • Build a fort- better yet, a fort colony
  • Pull out your old costumes (and maybe wardrobe) and imagine yourselves as something completely different
  • Have a craft day – anything is possible with a little glue, glitter and paint
  • Redecorate rooms – make your world a space adventure or an underwater oasis 

There are countless things you can do with your fighter as a family to help them still live the life of a child who isn’t suffering from cancer. This list isn’t by any  means exhaustive, and I encourage you all to share some of your favorite children’s activities. If you think hard enough you’ll notice that these aren’t things that are cancer specific – they’re child specific. Children with cancer are children first.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can become involved with cancer research or fundraising, check out some of the following sites:

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