Cancer affects a whole family, not just the person who is ill. Many parents dealing with a cancer diagnosis acknowledge they do not know how to talk to their children about cancer. This breakdown in communication not only heightens the stress and fears of the children, it isolates them and prevents them from being an active member of the family. Participation in the CLIMB programme helps to support communication of these complex feelings, increases the children’s knowledge about cancer, and improves communication between parents and children.
The programme is for children aged five to 12 years and is run one evening per week over six weeks in Tuam Cancer Care Centre. Each week, through play, drama, and art, the children learn about cancer. It is an enjoyable, sharing, and interactive experience. It endeavours to build on the child’s strengths and enhances his/her ability to cope with the inevitable distress of a cancer diagnosis, of a parent particularly.
Parents are invited to stay for a cup of tea, a chat, and receive support for themselves while the children play.
Tuam Cancer Care was the first centre in the Republic of Ireland to offer the CLIMB programme which is facilitated by trained support volunteers. It is run twice a year and is free of charge. Referrals to the programme can be made directly or by health care professionals.