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Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.

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Stay Connected to Classmates during Cancer Treatment

Keeping up with friends and classmates provides a bit of normalcy in a world that is anything but normal.

For classmates, using social media may help them to see and understand what is happening with the patient during the treatment phase. They can see changes in the patient’s appearance as it happens and be able to ask questions and discuss these changes openly.

This keeps what is happening less of a mystery for the classmates and allows the flow of accurate information about the illness, treatment process and side effects. This will make the patient’s transition back to the classroom much easier.

Many tools can make that possible. There’s no right or wrong way to do it.

  • School/ teacher websites – These websites show study topics, special activities, assignments, and test schedules.
  • Video chat (such as Facetime) – Seeing and talking to your friends and family online is a fun way to stay in touch. It’s a nice break.
  • Social media – Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and other media help families, patients, and friends stay up to date.
  • Skype – Patients can use video to keep connected to the classroom and group activities.
  • Websites such as CaringBridge – Families can share information at their own pace. Some families like to post daily. Others prefer to share updates less often. Families control the information, ensuring it is accurate.
  • Regular emails with teachers – Having a regular schedule helps teachers, parents, and students stay updated on how treatment is going and what is happening at school.
  • Monkey in My Chair – A stuffed monkey helps patients have a presence in the classroom. The program also helps teach classmates about childhood cancer.
nurse and young pediatric cancer patient taking a selfie together

When possible, children and teens with pediatric cancer should stay a part of the classroom even when they are away from school. Video chat and social media are some tools that can allow families and patients to keep in touch.

If you don’t have a computer or online access, these organizations can help.

  • Hopecam – This organization provides patients with a tablet computer and will set up Internet connections with the school and home if needed.
  • Keep Kids Connected – This program provides netbook/ tablet computers to children and teens with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. To apply, the patient must be between 4 and 18 years old and in active treatment or ongoing medical follow-up.

Keeping connected will also help when patients are ready to return to school after treatment. They will know more about what has been going on. The transition can go more smoothly.


NOTE:

When using FaceTime or other video chat technology, in the hospital or clinic setting, be mindful of any other patients in the area. Make sure your friends/classmates cannot see other patients while they are talking with you.


Reviewed: July 2019