From the moment someone learns they have cancer, their illness will impact everyone in the family, their friends, colleagues, neighbors, and even classmates. Cancer can have the greatest effect on children because they may not understand what’s going on. Getting kids involved in cancer awareness activities is an excellent way to help them channel their feelings. It’s also an effective way of helping them learn about the type of cancer that an important person in their life has.
We’ve come up with a broad range of creative activities to get kids involved in cancer awareness and to help them understand the impact that childhood cancers have on kids, their families, and entire communities.
Become a Pen Pal with a Cancer Patient
This activity can be done at school, at home, at church, or as part of a group such as a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop. Kids who go to school with a child who has cancer are probably curious about what is happening with their school or classmate. They may have a lot of questions. Writing a letter to an unknown child who has cancer can be a useful teaching tool. It may also lead to other activities, like putting together a care package for the kid at their school. Writing a letter to an adult with cancer can also be a great way to use childhood anecdotes to bring humor and smiles into the treatment room.
Get Kids Involved in a Cancer Ribbon-Making Project
Get some crayons, colored pencils, colored pens or markers, and paper. An alternative is to use colored construction paper. Download and print some ribbon-shaped stencils and cut out enough for every kid. Have the kids make awareness ribbons for the type of cancer that someone they know has. A gold ribbon brings awareness to childhood cancer.
Glue each ribbon to a magnet, or attach each ribbon to a solid background so that they can be displayed on a wall or hung in a window. Kids can display their ribbons at home or at school, or parents and teachers can help the kids deliver ribbons to a local business and display them in the windows to spread awareness.
Volunteer at a Children’s Hospital or Treatment Center
Whenever people volunteer to spend time with cancer patients, they’re making a valuable contribution to the facility where they spend the time. Even though cancer patients always have someone with them when they go to their treatment sessions, they never know how long they must wait, or how long the treatment will take. Kids who bring board games or their favorite books to read to other kids get to learn about the significance of giving of themselves to others. They will also develop an understanding of what kids who have cancer go through. They will also see that people don’t change because they have cancer, even though a sick kid may look different after losing their hair.
Childhood Cancer Fundraising Event Ideas
Plan a Coins4CURE event to raise money for the Atlanta, Georgia-based CURE Childhood Cancer organization. Events take place in September to coincide with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The signup process starts in July, and the organization provides all supplies for the drive. Kids’ church groups and community groups can hold their own events, too.
Hold a Pjammin® for Kids With Cancer event. The American Childhood Cancer Organization came up with this event to spread awareness about all childhood cancers. The events also build community support for local families as they deal with the impact of childhood cancer on people in their own cities or towns.
To hold a Pjammin® at school, school administrators need to notify parents of the event. Every kid in school can participate. Parents make a donation on behalf of their children so that they can wear their pajamas to school for a day. All of the money raised through donations goes to pay for support and resources for local children and their families during their fight to beat cancer.
Create Your Own
Encourage kids to create their own fundraising event. A car wash is a great way to involve children, especially when they are raising money for the benefit of a childhood cancer organization. Give donors a Choose Hope No One Fights Alone® Car Magnet to thank them for their contribution.
Sometimes children have a hard time understanding what’s going on when someone close to them has cancer. When a child they know has cancer, they may be frightened. Although they may not realize it, their involvement in spreading awareness about childhood cancer, raising money, and learning as much as they can about different childhood cancers, will help them understand the importance of helping others, giving of themselves, and being an involved participant in school or community activities.