Childhood cancer and COVID-19: Increasing connection and support during social isolation

Posted on March 25, 2020, 1:15 pm

I keep hearing in the media that coronavirus doesn’t present a real danger to kids. But for our kids, kids with cancer, COVID-19 presents a very real and potentially deadly risk. Kids like 5-year-old Hunter pictured here at home with his dog, Rocky.

For those of us who don’t have a sick child, the pandemic is stressful enough, but we’re hearing from the families Redkite supports that it has created enormous additional pressures on them. And the stories are heartbreaking.

Parents are being overwhelmed by concern for the health of their vulnerable and immunocompromised child, hit with job loss and business closures when they can least

afford it, and stressed by being separated from their support networks like grandparents and friends.

The need for Redkite’s financial and emotional support services has never been greater and neither has the demand.

A significant portion of our services are a community-based delivery model which meets families’ needs in a way that uniquely responds to this current health crisis. We are already working remotely to reduce the isolation and anxiety parents experience on return from hospital after their child’s cancer treatment.

Our telephone and email counselling provided by cancer professionals provides a lifeline for families across Australia when they feel other supports are no longer there – despite the physical distancing, we are creating much-needed social connection.

While other businesses and charities are scaling down due to their service delivery models, our biggest concern is how to ramp up our support when families need it most, and inspiring our corporate community and individual donors to stick with these kids and families right now.

We need to scale up to meet the extra financial and emotional needs for families whose lives were already devastated by their children’s cancer.

Redkite’s reliance on corporate and community support has never felt more acute – so please don’t stop – please don’t stop donating.

Kids are affected by Coronavirus. Kids with cancer, like little Hunter. These kids and their families need you now more than ever.

By Ms Monique Keighery,
CEO, Redkite, Australia’s leading children’s cancer support charity