medical update

My Anything but Ordinary Journey
Karen Janes & Gina MacKenzie - Patient & Family Counselling
Patient & Family Counselling, BC Cancer Agency Vancouver

It is very difficult to keep cancer a secret in the family especially when children are involved. Even very young children can sense that something is wrong and they may have questions, worries and fears. Children will use their very active imaginations if they have no credible information to work with. They will draw information, right or wrong, from other experiences they have had to understand what is happening.

Someone in your family has cancer and a world has been created for your child to explore their feelings, worries and questions about cancer. An interactive world where they can create, discover, play, draw, feel, learn, explore.

Welcome to My Anything But Ordinary Journey at, a website created for children ages 6-12, their family members and other support people. This is the newest addition to the British Columbia Cancer Agency's program of support for children and families touched by cancer.

The website opens with a welcoming page which fills in with colour as the child completes activities. They can create an Explorer and travel buddies to accompany them on their website journey, change the weather on their travels, and create a travel journal that links activities with a question to think about or talk over with others. Along the way, children can play a submarine matching game; draw on the rock wall; discover the healthy fruits and vegetable in the secret garden; create a sand castle and use their rocket ship in a scavenger hunt. The activities are designed to be fun, interactive ways to learn, express, and to communicate reassurance to children.

Cancer in my Family encourages communication in families and provides support for parents and others working with children. Located in the section For Adults parents will be provided with information about the website as well as find a useful guide entitled Reaching Out to Your Children When Cancer Comes to Your Family: A Guide for Parents. This guide provides information to help parents and families talk about the impact of cancer on their lives.  
It includes ideas about what to except from children, what you may be able to do or say and suggestions about what you may want to discuss as a family and individually.

While the BC Cancer Agency runs children's group programs in its centres and has developed a children's activity book Time for Me, the unmet need remained - how to make similar support accessible in situations where time or distance from BC Cancer Agency centres is an issue? BC Cancer Agency professionals teamed up with design experts to create this new website. Now children, parents, teachers, school counselors and others can access the website 24/7, anywhere there is Internet access, from the comfort of home - wearing their pajamas and fluffy slippers, if they like!

We hope that this website will help to open the way for parents and their children to talk with each other, to understand each other, to learn from each other, and to help each other.

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