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Father standing on the beach, holding his baby son in his arms. The baby has a nasogastric tube inserted in his nose.

News & media

Storytime helps siblings understand cancer

Explaining to their other children about their little brother’s cancer was a challenge parents Peter and Jenny weren’t sure how to tackle. Storytime with a Redkite social worker helped.

When baby Eli was born, he couldn’t breathe. After weeks of struggling, he underwent surgery to open his airways. That’s when the surgeons found a lump in his neck.

‘’The results came in that our six-week-old had neuroblastoma, a rare form of paediatric cancer,” his father, Peter said.

“Within two days he was starting chemotherapy. He was such a small baby, but he was just miserable. He just wanted to be held, but while his chemotherapy was being delivered, we couldn’t touch him. It was tough.”

What Peter and his wife Jennifer found equally tough was how to explain to their other three young children, Luke, Ava and Liam, what was happening to their baby brother.

“We thought our kids were going to fall apart,” Peter said. “We didn’t tell them for a couple of weeks.”

So they recruited the help of the Redkite social worker, who helped Eli’s brothers and sister make sense of his cancer.

“The social worker had a storybook written by Redkite about what cancer is. It had pictures of kids without hair, and it went through what chemotherapy is, and the treatment, and how some kids get better, and some kids don’t get better.

“The social worker went through the storybook with our kids, and it was so beautiful. It was a really nice way to tell them. We were worried they would struggle. But the way this story was read to them, we honestly couldn’t have done it by ourselves,” Peter said.

Peter and Jennifer are sharing their family’s story at the launch of the Coles Express mid-year fundraiser for families facing childhood cancer.

From 20 to 26 June, Coles Express customers can choose to round up any purchase to the nearest dollar to help Redkite provide critical emotional and mental health support around the country for families like Peter and Jennifer’s.

Coles Express Executive General Manager Michael Courtney said Coles Express was proud to be fundraising for children with cancer.

“When a child has cancer, every member of the family is affected, and our Coles Express team members are passionate about helping families going through that crisis. We hope that our customers can support this wonderful cause by rounding up at the checkout for Redkite during this campaign.”

Redkite’s General Manager of Fundraising, Tatiana Isaacs said: ‘’We are proud to be partnered with Coles Express whose amazing fundraising efforts have gone a long way to helping families like Eli’s. ‘’

Coles Express customers and team members have been supporting Redkite since 2018 with this year’s fundraiser running from 20 to 26 June.

“When a child has cancer, every member of the family is affected, and our Coles Express team members are passionate about helping families going through that crisis..” 

Michael Courtney, Coles Express Executive General Manager

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