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Helping kids cope with a loved one's cancer

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012 2:42 p.m. CDT

DeKALB – The Cancer Center at Kishwaukee Community Hospital offers a free, recurring group just for children ages 6 to 12 whose lives have been touched by cancer of a parent, grandparent or close friend. Dinner is provided each week at CLIMB (Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery).

The Kish Hospital Cancer Center is the first cancer center in the region to offer the program. Craig Pressley, LCSW, oncology social worker at The Cancer Center, is a CLIMB facilitator, approved through the Children’s Treehouse Foundation, founder of the program.

“CLIMB provides a unique opportunity for children to meet and learn from other kids who have a parent with cancer, through a variety of engaging activities, art and fun,” Pressley said. “Although CLIMB is a program for children, it also serves as a support for parents and caregivers to better understand how to talk with their children about their cancer and know they are not alone in their experience.”

Through CLIMB, a child increases his or her knowledge about cancer and its treatment, normalizes feelings of sadness, better identifies strengths and normalizes anxiety, and learns to express and manage anger appropriately. When children finish CLIMB, they know that the cancer is not their fault, they are not alone and they have skills to communicate their needs clearly in a season of uncertainty.

To register or to speak with the program facilitator, call 815-756-5255, ext. 153744. To learn more about CLIMB, visit www.kishcancercenter.org.

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