On a scale of one to ten, how stressed are you today? A 5? 7 perhaps? A 9?! Imagine you’ve just received the diagnosis that your child has cancer. What does that even mean for you and your family? 

Cancer isn’t pretty. Childhood cancer definitely isn’t pretty. It’s a diagnosis no parent wants to receive for their child. The news is devastating, and is accompanied by so much uncertainty. 

In addition to the medical treatment and care required over a prolonged period, which averages three years for childhood cancers; the diagnosis can create a ripple effect through the immediate family members and on to the extended family.

In Ireland, all childhood cancer treatments are performed at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Dublin. For families in rural areas and those living outside of the city, this can mean long drives to and from the hospital on a weekly basis for treatment, in addition to regular local hospital and GP visits. Extended stay at the hospital for long periods of time can be expected. Family routine is disrupted and other siblings will become acutely aware of these changes, as they too are affected by the diagnosis regardless of age.

What may have seemed the normal mundane chores and duties of a parent, feel overwhelming on top of the additional needs of your sick child. Laundry. Cleaning the house. Childcare. Preparing meals. Things that aren’t luxuries but rather necessities, which you simply don’t have the time or energy for anymore.

Hand in Hand is the only Children’s Cancer Charity in Ireland providing families help with these tasks throughout treatment. There to lighten the load and provide precious time for families to spend with their child, Hand in Hand currently help over 50 families. Their goal is to be able to offer their services to all families in Ireland with a child diagnosed with cancer.