Family and Friends

A diagnosis of cancer affects not only the child, parents, and siblings, but also grandparents, other relatives, and friends.

Comforting friend. Woman consoling her sad friend with hand on shoulder.

Family & Friend Support

Some people naturally know how best to help you whilst others will have no idea.

Try to understand that people do care about you, you may simply need to tell them how they can best help you.


We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that friends should instinctively know that we need help. (They are not mind readers!)



Here are some ideas on how to tell them:

  • Be open and honest. It’s okay to admit that you are not coping, close friends and family will understand the emotional strain.
  • Take the lead to show others how you and your child want to be treated. If they are over crowding you, or over indulging your children, tell them.
  • You may find it upsetting and frustrating to have to repeat details about your child’s illness to many family members and friends. Ask one person to handle calls and questions or consider a daily blog post. (see
  • It can be helpful to ask one friend or family member to be the “point person” to share with people your needs – for example, getting the wash done or shopping for groceries.
  • Your employers will need to be told about your child’s illness, they need to understand why you are unable to focus on work and need time off. You may wish to ask your child’s doctor to write your employer to explain the situation.
Family Tensions
Cancer takes it’s toll onYou Tube Graphic 1j the whole family and inevitably this can cause friction and tension. Talking about what’s going and how you are feeling can really help

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