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Talking cancer

When it comes to your child’s cancer, no topic is taboo

When a child has cancer, you are told things you wish you didn’t have to hear, but there are also many things left unsaid. Having real conversations is what we do best, and we invite you to join us.

This time is often filled with some of the hardest conversations of your life, a whirlwind of information, and new people.

We don’t know what causes childhood cancers. Nothing you or anyone else did caused your child’s cancer and nothing could have prevented it. It’s not fair, but it’s not your fault.  

Guilt is a really common feeling for parents. Telling someone to not feel guilty won’t make that feeling magically disappear, but talking about it can help. 

While it can feel isolating, you’re not alone with cancer. We will listen, respect and respond to you and your family, wherever you are.

You will meet many other families on the ward. Because the treatment for most childhood cancers is long and intense, many of these families get to know and support each other. Some form friendships that last long after their child’s treatment is over.

Know that there is nothing you did or didn’t do that caused it. You face a hard road but you don’t have to feel alone. There are wonderful groups of parents all over the country – like the ones Redkite runs that have parents that get it and that are there to hold you up. Be kind on yourself. If your house isn’t clean or your lawn isn’t mowed it’s okay. And never EVER measure your okay against someone worse than you. Your kid has cancer! If there is any time in your life to humbly accept the generous and gracious help others offer it is now. Not just for you, but it will ease your burden to allow you to support your kids. Swallow your pride, say yes ❤️

Tracy

Ideas

Counselling: when you’re ready, we are here

Redkite provides free counselling for adults. You can talk to us once or twice, or more often if you need. It’s up to you.

Counselling: when you’re ready, we are here

Redkite provides free counselling for adults. You can talk to us once or twice, or more often if you need. It’s up to you.

Organising

How can Centrelink help my family?

Understanding and navigating Centrelink can be difficult and confusing. Below are some tips about Centrelink and other options that may be relevant to you and your family. 

How can Centrelink help my family?

Understanding and navigating Centrelink can be difficult and confusing. Below are some tips about Centrelink and other options that may be relevant to you and your family. 

Relationships

A guide for grandparents of children affected by childhood cancer

This booklet answers some of the many questions which grandparents of children with cancer told Redkite they would have liked answered when their grandchild was diagnosed and during their grandchild’s treatment phase.

A guide for grandparents of children affected by childhood cancer

This booklet answers some of the many questions which grandparents of children with cancer told Redkite they would have liked answered when their grandchild was diagnosed and during their grandchild’s treatment phase.

Case Studies

Katie’s story: Music and childhood cancer treatment

Music can promote connection and strengthen relationships within your family. Katie explored the Redkite Music Box and thought it would be helpful for families facing the cancer experience.

Katie’s story: Music and childhood cancer treatment

Music can promote connection and strengthen relationships within your family. Katie explored the Redkite Music Box and thought it would be helpful for families facing the cancer experience.

Case Studies

How children’s counselling helps siblings manage the effects of cancer

After Emily was diagnosed with cancer, Redkite’s children’s counselling program played a vital role in supporting the emotional wellbeing of Emily and her sister Lucy.

How children’s counselling helps siblings manage the effects of cancer

After Emily was diagnosed with cancer, Redkite’s children’s counselling program played a vital role in supporting the emotional wellbeing of Emily and her sister Lucy.

Emotions

Musical activities for children and teens with cancer

Music can be a real source of support during the cancer experience. Our Redkite Music Box activities for young children and teens going through cancer can help them through challenging times.

Musical activities for children and teens with cancer

Music can be a real source of support during the cancer experience. Our Redkite Music Box activities for young children and teens going through cancer can help them through challenging times.

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Every child’s treatment looks different. The most common treatments are chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Many children have a combination of all three, but others may only have one. There are other treatments as well like bone marrow transplants, stem cell therapy and immunotherapy. These aren’t as common and are often used for certain cancers.

There are different phases of treatment. Your child may stay in hospital for some weeks, and then you may be on maintenance treatment for several years. Both of these have their own challenges. The hospital where your child receives treatment might be hundreds of kilometres away from family and friends. At home, not only are you juggling having a child on treatment, doctors appointments and unexpected trips to the emergency department, but also everyday life; school, work, other children.

There’s lots of ups and downs, and it can be exhausting. It’s normal and okay to feel overwhelmed.

I wish I had known that the end of the intensive treatment phase (leukaemia) isn’t necessarily the end of the “hard part”, that the full treatment program (2 years) is a marathon and not a sprint and you need to conserve mental energy for after intensive is over. I’m sorry if I’m rambling but the point is that I was so looking forward to finishing intensive and ‘going home’ but that had its own challenges too.

Tanya

Despite the best efforts of any medical team, cancer cells sometimes survive treatment and reappear. This is called a relapse or recurrence. 
It’s what parents fear every time they take their child for a blood test or a scan. Hearing this news is devastating. Relapse doesn’t mean your child had the wrong treatment, that they did something wrong. It’s nobody’s fault.

Having gone through treatment before, you know what to expect. This can be both positive and negative. You know the language, the people, and what strategies work for you, but you also know what’s ahead of you. It might feel like you put everything into treatment the first time, and now you’re exhausted.

Emotions

Musical activities for children and teens with cancer

Music can be a real source of support during the cancer experience. Our Redkite Music Box activities for young children and teens going through cancer can help them through challenging times.

Musical activities for children and teens with cancer

Music can be a real source of support during the cancer experience. Our Redkite Music Box activities for young children and teens going through cancer can help them through challenging times.

Downloads

Understanding anxiety in children

Anxious feelings can sometimes be hard to spot and can manifest in different ways. Here we share common signs of anxiety and how to help children navigate this often scary and uncertain emotion.

Understanding anxiety in children

Anxious feelings can sometimes be hard to spot and can manifest in different ways. Here we share common signs of anxiety and how to help children navigate this often scary and uncertain emotion.

How books can help children with their emotions

Emotions

How books can help children with their emotions

Mum of two, Fiona, shares how books became a useful resource for her family to talk about childhood cancer throughout her daughter’s diagnosis and treatment.

How books can help children with their emotions

Mum of two, Fiona, shares how books became a useful resource for her family to talk about childhood cancer throughout her daughter’s diagnosis and treatment.

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Finance tips from parents of kids with cancer

Financial tips from parents and families for getting through their child’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Finance tips from parents of kids with cancer

Financial tips from parents and families for getting through their child’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Relationships

Self-care during childhood cancer: what other parents say

Parents have shared their top tips for looking after your mental health when your child has been diagnosed with cancer.

Self-care during childhood cancer: what other parents say

Parents have shared their top tips for looking after your mental health when your child has been diagnosed with cancer.

Hospital and Home: Tips for families this holiday season

Emotions

In hospital and at home: Tips for families this holiday season

No matter what the holiday season looks like for your family, here are some ideas that may help you through this time of year.

In hospital and at home: Tips for families this holiday season

No matter what the holiday season looks like for your family, here are some ideas that may help you through this time of year.

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The end of treatment is the milestone most families have been looking forward to since the diagnosis. Many families choose to celebrate this moment, but for many, there’s also lots of mixed feelings. Whatever you’re feeling: relief, guilt, anger, grief- these are normal.

Even after treatment ends, normal can still seem very far away. Wanting to have everything back the way it was before cancer is completely understandable. Everyone is changed by their experience. Many people also talk about struggling with the expectations of others who want them to be their old selves.

Treatment ending can bring a whole new range of worries and emotions. Instead of worrying about treatment, now people are worrying about the cancer returning. One day your child was taking chemo which kept them healthy and saved their life, the next they’re not.

It doesn’t mean going back to ‘normal’
Off treatment doesn’t mean it’s the end of tests, scans and check ups.
It means it’s the end of chemo/radiation/immunotherapy etc it doesn’t mean back to normal or healthy immune system, it means a new way of life and a few bumps along the way.

Ideas

Counselling: when you’re ready, we are here

Redkite provides free counselling for adults. You can talk to us once or twice, or more often if you need. It’s up to you.

Counselling: when you’re ready, we are here

Redkite provides free counselling for adults. You can talk to us once or twice, or more often if you need. It’s up to you.

Organising

How can Centrelink help my family?

Understanding and navigating Centrelink can be difficult and confusing. Below are some tips about Centrelink and other options that may be relevant to you and your family. 

How can Centrelink help my family?

Understanding and navigating Centrelink can be difficult and confusing. Below are some tips about Centrelink and other options that may be relevant to you and your family. 

Relationships

A guide for grandparents of children affected by childhood cancer

This booklet answers some of the many questions which grandparents of children with cancer told Redkite they would have liked answered when their grandchild was diagnosed and during their grandchild’s treatment phase.

A guide for grandparents of children affected by childhood cancer

This booklet answers some of the many questions which grandparents of children with cancer told Redkite they would have liked answered when their grandchild was diagnosed and during their grandchild’s treatment phase.

Case Studies

Katie’s story: Music and childhood cancer treatment

Music can promote connection and strengthen relationships within your family. Katie explored the Redkite Music Box and thought it would be helpful for families facing the cancer experience.

Katie’s story: Music and childhood cancer treatment

Music can promote connection and strengthen relationships within your family. Katie explored the Redkite Music Box and thought it would be helpful for families facing the cancer experience.

Relationships

Things to do during the school holidays

These school holidays the kids can have fun and relax after a big term of school and parents can relax the routine and have more time to connect with their family.

Things to do during the school holidays

These school holidays the kids can have fun and relax after a big term of school and parents can relax the routine and have more time to connect with their family.

Case Studies

How children’s counselling helps siblings manage the effects of cancer

After Emily was diagnosed with cancer, Redkite’s children’s counselling program played a vital role in supporting the emotional wellbeing of Emily and her sister Lucy.

How children’s counselling helps siblings manage the effects of cancer

After Emily was diagnosed with cancer, Redkite’s children’s counselling program played a vital role in supporting the emotional wellbeing of Emily and her sister Lucy.

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Survivor means different things to different people.

At some point after treatment, people who have had cancer might start being called “survivors”. People use this word in different ways. The term “cancer survivor” is helpful for some people, and it can allow people to tap into support specifically related to “survivorship”. It can also give people who’ve faced cancer a strong sense of identity. For others, it doesn’t quite fit or do justice to how complex cancer is.

When someone might start describing themselves as a survivor also varies quite a lot. Some people may use the word from the time they’re diagnosed, when they finished treatment, or when they’re told they are cancer-free.

Many children who’ve had cancer have ‘late effects’ as a result of their treatment. Again, if your child has them and what they are depends on a lot of different facts. Late effects can range from cognitive changes or mental illness, to heart or kidney problems.

As a parent yourself, you might have ongoing impacts from treatment too, whether that’s financial, emotional, or social.

Ideas

Counselling: when you’re ready, we are here

Redkite provides free counselling for adults. You can talk to us once or twice, or more often if you need. It’s up to you.

Counselling: when you’re ready, we are here

Redkite provides free counselling for adults. You can talk to us once or twice, or more often if you need. It’s up to you.

Organising

How can Centrelink help my family?

Understanding and navigating Centrelink can be difficult and confusing. Below are some tips about Centrelink and other options that may be relevant to you and your family. 

How can Centrelink help my family?

Understanding and navigating Centrelink can be difficult and confusing. Below are some tips about Centrelink and other options that may be relevant to you and your family. 

Relationships

A guide for grandparents of children affected by childhood cancer

This booklet answers some of the many questions which grandparents of children with cancer told Redkite they would have liked answered when their grandchild was diagnosed and during their grandchild’s treatment phase.

A guide for grandparents of children affected by childhood cancer

This booklet answers some of the many questions which grandparents of children with cancer told Redkite they would have liked answered when their grandchild was diagnosed and during their grandchild’s treatment phase.

Case Studies

Katie’s story: Music and childhood cancer treatment

Music can promote connection and strengthen relationships within your family. Katie explored the Redkite Music Box and thought it would be helpful for families facing the cancer experience.

Katie’s story: Music and childhood cancer treatment

Music can promote connection and strengthen relationships within your family. Katie explored the Redkite Music Box and thought it would be helpful for families facing the cancer experience.

Case Studies

How children’s counselling helps siblings manage the effects of cancer

After Emily was diagnosed with cancer, Redkite’s children’s counselling program played a vital role in supporting the emotional wellbeing of Emily and her sister Lucy.

How children’s counselling helps siblings manage the effects of cancer

After Emily was diagnosed with cancer, Redkite’s children’s counselling program played a vital role in supporting the emotional wellbeing of Emily and her sister Lucy.

Emotions

Musical activities for children and teens with cancer

Music can be a real source of support during the cancer experience. Our Redkite Music Box activities for young children and teens going through cancer can help them through challenging times.

Musical activities for children and teens with cancer

Music can be a real source of support during the cancer experience. Our Redkite Music Box activities for young children and teens going through cancer can help them through challenging times.

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Sometimes, cancer doesn’t respond to treatment. There’s no right or wrong way to feel or cope with this news. It can be hard to describe the waves of emotion involved. Some people who have been through this experience say it is possible to feel fear, devastation, anger and denial simultaneously. Others say they were completely numb.

There are many questions and also many decisions which are not easy to make. Telling your child, their siblings, and other people in your life is just the first of many incredibly hard conversations you will have to have.

You may feel alone in this. Your experience is your own, but there are people here to help and support you, including Redkite.

Emotions

Musical activities for children and teens with cancer

Music can be a real source of support during the cancer experience. Our Redkite Music Box activities for young children and teens going through cancer can help them through challenging times.

Musical activities for children and teens with cancer

Music can be a real source of support during the cancer experience. Our Redkite Music Box activities for young children and teens going through cancer can help them through challenging times.

Organising

Finance tips from parents of kids with cancer

Financial tips from parents and families for getting through their child’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Finance tips from parents of kids with cancer

Financial tips from parents and families for getting through their child’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Hospital and Home: Tips for families this holiday season

Emotions

In hospital and at home: Tips for families this holiday season

No matter what the holiday season looks like for your family, here are some ideas that may help you through this time of year.

In hospital and at home: Tips for families this holiday season

No matter what the holiday season looks like for your family, here are some ideas that may help you through this time of year.

Man looking at myRedkite on his mobile phone

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myRedkite User Guide for families

Resources myRedkite User Guide for families The myRedkite portal allows families to access the services they need, whenever they need…

myRedkite User Guide for families

Resources myRedkite User Guide for families The myRedkite portal allows families to access the services they need, whenever they need…

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Dare to Dream Scholarship: what other parents say

Financial tips from parents and families for getting through their child’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Dare to Dream Scholarship: what other parents say

Financial tips from parents and families for getting through their child’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Mother holding her baby at Christmas time

Emotions

Support for the holiday season

No matter what the holiday season looks like for your family, here are some ideas that may help you through this time of year.

Support for the holiday season

No matter what the holiday season looks like for your family, here are some ideas that may help you through this time of year.

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Grief doesn’t have a formula or timeline. There’s no stages to go through. Grief comes and goes, rising and falling, and is never easy to predict.

Even though they are gone, they are still with you and you can still think about them, and you don’t have to be sad. You can be happy and think about them at the same time

Bereaved sibling


Other people in your life can have expectations of how you’re supposed to behave or how long you should grieve for. But there isn’t a right or wrong way to act when your child has died. Time between moments of overwhelming grief grows further apart over time, but that doesn’t mean grief goes away. The fact is your child will always be part of you, and you’ll always have a relationship with them.

We provide bereavement counselling, and have articles and resources you can read. One of these resources is By My Side, a video and book of a collection of quotes from parents whose child has died because of cancer. You can ask our team for a copy of By My Side and we’ll post it out to you.


Man looking at myRedkite on his mobile phone

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myRedkite User Guide for families

Resources myRedkite User Guide for families The myRedkite portal allows families to access the services they need, whenever they need…

myRedkite User Guide for families

Resources myRedkite User Guide for families The myRedkite portal allows families to access the services they need, whenever they need…

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Other financial aid programs

A list of services providers offering financial aid in Australia

Other financial aid programs

A list of services providers offering financial aid in Australia

Man reading to his daughter

Emotions

Books to help you talk to children about their big feelings

It can be hard to talk to your children about how their feeling. In this article, our social workers suggest some books that may help your conversations.

Books to help you talk to children about their big feelings

It can be hard to talk to your children about how their feeling. In this article, our social workers suggest some books that may help your conversations.

Family with a child who has cancer in the middle

Relationships

How can Redkite help you?

Men are encouraged to show strength and can’t say if you’re struggling, but how should a man behave when his child is diagnosed with cancer?

How can Redkite help you?

Men are encouraged to show strength and can’t say if you’re struggling, but how should a man behave when his child is diagnosed with cancer?

Emotions

Grief, Loss and Bereavement

During this pandemic, the devastation, sadness and isolation is shared globally, and we all ‘get it’ and can understand the impact. But when it comes to bereavement, sadly many people and communities don’t understand.

Grief, Loss and Bereavement

During this pandemic, the devastation, sadness and isolation is shared globally, and we all ‘get it’ and can understand the impact. But when it comes to bereavement, sadly many people and communities don’t understand.

rk-man-pyjamas-stressed-phone

Relationships

When your child dies

When your child dies is a nine-page booklet written using the real experiences of bereaved parents about life after your child dies.

When your child dies

When your child dies is a nine-page booklet written using the real experiences of bereaved parents about life after your child dies.

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How we can help?

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