|A Place for
Me Helps Children Cope With a Family Members Cancer
With funds provided by the Womens Board of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, several Jefferson departments have joined forces to offer A Place for Me a program for children whose parent or grandparent has cancer. The program evolved as an effort to help children since they are often overlooked when it comes to cancer support services, explains Jan Taksa, Administrative Social Work Supervisor, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
The response to the program has been so positive the Womens Board has provided resources to offer it quarterly. Children attend the program along with their parent or grandparent. The program is free and includes lunch and parking.
Along with Ms. Taksa, A Place for Me is run by Lora Rhodes, Patient Services Coordinator, Kimmel Cancer Center; Vicky Sherman who oversees Jeffersons Premier Years senior program; and Denise Faraone, Patient Services. Other participants include: Mary Ann Romano, psychologist in private practice; Joy Shaffer, RN, Jeffersons Bone Marrow Transplant Unit; and Caroline Peterson, graduate student in art therapy.
During the four-hour program, children and their family members meet separately. The children participate in activities including Cancer Bingo and watching animated demonstrations of how cancer affects the body. All of the activities focus on helping children overcome myths about cancer and learn coping skills. At the same time, parents and grandparents meet with facilitators and discuss the challenges of living with cancer.
At the programs end, the participants design a patch for the programs quilt. The patches represent how each family lives with cancer, emphasizing the uniqueness of each family and the common bond that ties them all together. The quilt will eventually be hung in the Gibbon Building of the hospital.
For more information about A Place for Me or to sign up for the program, call 215-955-8370.