“I am the Play Specialist on St John’s Day Ward. My full-time position is totally funded by the Childhood Cancer Foundation and the wonderful people who donate to them. These are some of the tools I use to help children through their hospital admission. I use adapted dolls and teddies along with medical equipment to teach them about procedures and treatments. This way we can help them understand what is going to happen so they can feel a little more confident in a place where they have such little say. Have you heard of the Beads of Courage? It started in the states and CCF brought the programme here. Children who want to join the programme receive their name on a string and every bead represents a different treatment or procedure in the hospital. For example, a yellow bead is an overnight stay in the ward, a white one is a chemotherapy treatment, a red one is when they get their blood taken, a lime one if they are in isolation, black for an injection. There are others for going into surgery, receiving a transfusion or stem cell harvest or biopsy…. There are lots of different beads and patients can collect hundreds, sometimes thousands, during their treatment, each collection telling their own unique story. My job is not only to play with patients, but to help decrease illness-related distress, increase the use of positive coping strategies, and restore a sense of self, all while they are coping with their serious illness. They are all very brave here.”
Childhood Cancer Foundation needs our help to keep their projects research and services going. Please consider donating to help CCF and the little heroes in St John’s Ward!