Emotional and Educational Support
Those who care for a child with cancer often need a listening ear to help guide them through the experience. Candlelighters is here.
The Parent Consultant Program embodies all points of our mission statement, providing emotional, educational and practical support to families of children with cancer. Our Parent Consultants have all been through the cancer journey. Each Parent Consultant has had a child with cancer. They have been there and are now there to help families as they face this tough journey.
The Parent Consultants offer emotional support one-on-one interaction directly in the hospitals and clinics. In fact, the Candlelighters Parent Consultant is the only outside organization in each hospital that provides direct support and interaction with the children and families.
The Parent Consultants are available to the parents and families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Long after the clinic has closed and visiting hours are over, the Parent Consultants are there for the children and families. They are a confidant, someone to share fears and anxieties, a friendly face across the clinic and a shoulder to cry on. They share the same highs and lows, the same fears and joys, and have survived childhood cancer.
The Parent Consultants are there to meet the parents or guardians of all childhood cancer patients as soon as possible after diagnosis, on-site at the hospital and clinic. They provide regular hospital and in-clinic visits and they maintain telephone contact for support. They also recognize that a diagnosis of childhood cancer is a diagnosis that affects the entire family. They are there for the children with cancer and for the siblings as well, encompassing the entire family’s cancer journey. If need be, they are there to support families facing the loss of their child. They attend funerals and remember the anniversary of a birth date or date of death.
Families tell us that the single greatest gift they have received from their Parent Consultant is the knowledge that you can survive, you can go on, and that someone understands exactly how you feel.
The Candlelighters Parent Consultant’s primary responsibility is to provide support and advocacy for children with cancer and their families. This encompasses the entire treatment cycle including inpatient, outpatient, home care, off-treatment, long-term follow up, late effects, and the bereavement process.
The Parent Consultants aid in the education of parents and families in terms of cancer and its treatment. The Parent Consultant is there to help in negotiating the maze of hospital and clinics, and to help facilitate parent’s understanding of the day-to-day operation of the hospital and clinic. They are there to help in understanding the symptoms of a disease and the treatment side effects, or by helping to represent the parent’s viewpoint at treatment center staff and committee meetings. From the exchange of information at the weekly support meetings, to supporting families with issues and concerns outside the hospital environment, and to recognizing that siblings face many issues as well as parents, the Parent Consultants are there to help the entire family as they face childhood cancer.
Candlelighters Support Groups:
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Children’s Cancer Hospital Families
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
10th Floor, Alkek Hospital
Texas Children’s Cancer & Hematology Center
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
West Tower, Ronald McDonald Kitchen, 9th Floor
Our newsletter is produced quarterly and tells of all of the wonderful people we’ve met and events we hold to directly benefit children fighting cancer. Learn more about Candlelighters and what we’re doing, by joining our newsletter.