Workbook helps children understand cancer

A McGill University student created a workbook for kids to help them understand cancer and deal with difficult times when a family member is sick

Kasia Whitelaw was 6 years old when her mother was diagnosed with cancer for a second time. She said she didn’t really understand what was happening and how her mother’s illness affected her.

Now a 19-year-old student at McGill University, she decided to create a 40-page workbook aimed at elementary school children to help them cope with this difficult time in their lives.

A Little Book About Cancer, which was launched on Oct. 25, acts as a diary or journal and it includes activities to determine what cancer means to the kids, how it affects their emotions, and what they want to do about it.

“Do what feels right to you and that is the best you can do,” Whitelaw said. “There’s no right way to go through something like that.”

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, children ages 4 to 7 often believe their actions or thoughts are the cause of their parents’ cancer, whereas school-aged children develop feelings of anger, anguish, guilt and fear.

Copies of the workbook are available for free at the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre.

For more information, call 514-695-9355.