Caring resources and information for parents
Having a child diagnosed with cancer will affect you and the people close to you. Understandably, you will feel worried and stressed as you come to terms with the diagnosis and what it means for your child and your family.
There are many people who can help you deal with any difficult feelings and emotions, and also with practical issues. The staff at the hospital, including medical social workers and specialist nurses and doctors, are there to help you at this time.
The team may direct you to counselling services, complementary therapies and parent peer to peer support at your local cancer support centre.
It may be helpful to order a copy of our booklet Children and Young People with Cancer: A guide for parents which has lots of information and advice on coping with a child’s cancer, the impact of a diagnosis, looking after yourself and practical support.
Call the Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700 to order a copy or you can download it below:
The Irish Cancer Society also works with cancer support groups and centres across the country to ensure people affected by cancer, including parents of children diagnosed with cancer, have access to confidential support, including professional counselling.
Our parent peer supporters are trained to provide emotional and practical support to you while your child is going through or has finished treatment. For more information, call our Nurseline or see our online directory for your local cancer support centre.
Patient travel and financial support services for children with cancer
The Irish Cancer Society provides practical and financial support for patients in need, who are undergoing cancer treatments. There are two services available to children through the Society:
Travel2Care is a fund, made available by the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), for patients who are having difficulty getting to and from their treatments while attending one of the national centres of excellence.
The medical social worker in your child’s hospital will apply on behalf of your family, if eligible.
Our Children’s Fund is a special fund to help families in financial hardship when their child is faced with a cancer diagnosis. The fund is for families who cannot meet a specific financial burden only because of their child’s cancer diagnosis or treatment. This includes children who are having active treatment or receiving palliative care.
You can make three applications over the course of your child’s treatment, with a 12-month interval between each application. The most that can be paid out is €1000 for the first application and €500 each for a second and third application.
There is no automatic entitlement and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. As with the Travel2Care, the medical social worker in your child’s hospital will apply on your behalf.
Children’s cancer organisations and support groups for parents
There are organisations and groups that can give you information and support if you’re caring for child with cancer.
Some parents find it helps them to meet other people with similar fears and worries to share information and advice, and support each other. There may be support groups for particular cancer types, for parents, or groups at your local cancer support centre. See the list below for contact details for some:
Useful organisations and websites
Childhood Cancer Foundation
Ireland's national independent body for childhood cancer. It raises awareness about childhood cancer, advocates for improved services and funds vital supports for affected families.
Aoibheann’s Pink Tie
A registered charity that provides practical assistance and support for families in need who have a child with cancer. It takes referrals through St John’s Ward at Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin.
A specially designed camp for children with serious illnesses and their families.
A club that provides outings for children who have a life-threatening or long-term illness, or are disadvantaged in some other way.
A nationwide professional medical transport service for long-term sick and seriously disabled children. It transports children in a fun environment from home to their treatment centres.
A nationwide support group for young people who have or had cancer, and also for their siblings and friends.
Children in Hospital Ireland
An organisation that works directly with children in hospitals to help them cope with illness and being in hospital. It also provides ongoing support to their families.
Children’s Leukaemia Association
A registered charity that provides financial help for hidden costs in caring for critically ill children in Ireland.
Tel: 061-331333/1800 90 10 90
Hand in Hand
A national support service that provides practical support for families of children with cancer.
Julie Wren Trust
A trust that provides complementary therapies for children with cancer at Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin. It also provides funding for palliative care for children at home or in hospital.
This organisation grants the wishes of children aged between 3 and 17 living with life-threatening medical conditions to bring hope, strength and joy. It is an affiliate of the International Make-A-Wish family.
Ronald McDonald House
An international charity that provides accommodation in a caring and supportive environment for families whose children are seriously ill in hospital or undergoing treatment at Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
US children’s charity that provides useful resources.
Beads of Courage
Provides arts-in-medicine supportive care programmes for children coping with serious illness, their families, and carers.
Children’s Oncology Group (COG)
Based in the US, the world’s largest organisation for childhood and adolescent cancer research.
UK charity for children with cancer that publishes a wide range of books, including storybooks.
Jigsaw (formerly Headstrong)
An Irish charity that focuses on youth mental health. Its programme gives young people somewhere to turn to and someone to talk to when in need.
Websites that contain information about cancer, and have video and audioclips of people talking about their experiences.
Medical information for kids and teens with clear explanations of different conditions, including leukaemia.
For children and teenagers coping with stress, anxiety, bullying, suicide, depression, and other mental health and wellbeing issues.
Irish website with information and support for young people with longterm illnesses moving from child to adult health services.
Global support community for young adults with cancer.
Teenage Cancer Trust
UK Cancer information and support forum for teenagers with cancer.
TYAC (Teenagers and Young Adults with Cancer)
Information and support for teenagers and young adults with cancer.
The Little Princess Trust
A charity which funds real hair wigs for children.
Practical and financial information
Statutory body provides comprehensive information on public services and on the entitlements of citizens in Ireland.
Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS)
This is a free and confidential service for people who are having problems with money management and debt.
Useful contacts outside Republic of Ireland
Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG)
A leading children’s charity in the UK and Ireland’s professional association for those involved in the treatment and care of children with cancer. The CCLG produces a wide range of publications – books, booklets and factsheets – based around many aspects of children’s cancer.
A purpose-built therapeutic centre for children aged 0‒24 diagnosed with cancer and their families. Based in Newcastle, Co Down, it is operated by the Cancer Fund for Children. Open to children and their families from the Republic of Ireland.
Tel: 048 4372 4212
Lymphoma Association (UK)
A UK charity that provides in-depth information on lymphoma.
Macmillan Cancer Support (UK)
A UK charity that provides specialist health care, information and financial support to people affected by cancer.
National Cancer Institute (US)
Co-ordinates the national cancer programme in the US.
Neuroblastoma UK (formerly Neuroblastoma Society)
A small UK charity dedicated to finding a cure for neuroblastoma.
UK charity that funds vital research and offers support for anyone affected by sarcoma.
Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research)
Blood cancer research charity in the UK.
For more information
1800 200 700