Going through treatment for paediatric cancer is a long journey. Helena and her family’s first contact with the Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund came through the information material and brochures the family received when Ebba – who has now completed her leukaemia treatment – was diagnosed. Over time, their awareness of the Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund’s operations grew, and Helena particularly wants to emphasise the important role of the consulting nurses and sibling support.
“Ebba was in hospital for a long time in the first part of her treatment,” she tells us. “For obvious reasons, contact with her school was not really a priority. We as parents simply didn’t have the energy, or even the thought, of informing and maintaining a dialogue with the school.”
For Ebba’s big sister Johanna, the sibling supporter was a big help. Meeting someone who understands what you are going through as a sibling of a childhood cancer patient, without having to explain it, was a great feeling.
“It was incredibly valuable that the consulting nurse could take that role and inform Ebba’s class and school about her illness and treatment,” Helena continues.
“Johanna appreciated having activities with other siblings and the sibling supporter,” Helena says, “things that didn’t feel hospital-focused and offered camaraderie and a bit of freedom from the constant presence of her sibling’s illness. That really helped to preserve a bit of normal life in an otherwise unusual situation.”
Helena and the family have been in close contact with the Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund, not least through Ebba’s participation in the Christmas promotion that aired for the second year in a row. Helena says she and her family appreciated the support she feels the organisation offers to families of children with cancer.
“I have a very sunny impression of the Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund. Their work makes a difference, both to research and in terms of support to us families,” she says. “We have benefited greatly from the support material offered, and we appreciated that it was easily available and contained something for everyone – from school materials to good sections for Grandma and Granddad to read.
“We also feel that the Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund’s work is filled with hope.”
Hope was a key part of Ebba’s decision to head the St Lucia procession in the Christmas promotion. Helena tells us that by participating in the promotion Ebba felt she could help to convey a sense of hope and show that life goes on, despite cancer.