The Covid-19 pandemic meant that very sadly, we were unable to provide support in the form of holiday accommodation (our near hospital flats have been open and as vital as ever throughout). However, the pandemic has required us to find new ways to support families. Towards the beginning of the first lockdown, we secured the services of a superb coach to provide zoom based mindfulness sessions. We are now providing six weekly online group mindfulness sessions plus an average of between four and ten one-to-one sessions, including bereavement support, each week. These sessions sustain individual family members and assist them to deal with the stresses they face advocating for their child. The feedback has been so positive that we have extended the service to include sessions for our volunteers, many of whom are also isolated.
The response to this support has been overwhelmingly positive. Over 120 people regularly engage each week in these sessions which have been running now for almost a year. The numbers remain consistently high and the feedback from so many of the attendees leads us to know that this is a service that has become a valuable tool in their armoury of ways to make living with childhood cancer a little bit easier.
Participants tell us they want these sessions to continue. With so much uncertainty around the ongoing and longer-term need for social distancing measures, we feel mindfulness is now an integral part of what the charity provides.
Here are just some of the many positive notes of thanks that we have received from participants.
“With my child being ill and lockdown, I just wasn’t coping at all, the sessions have helped me so much to see things more clearly and cope so much better”
“Mindfulness sessions feel like a breath of fresh air”, I am feeling lighter and can cope with lockdown and shielding so much better.”
“It really helps me keep perspective. Thank you so much … it’s definitely helped to keep me sane and stay grateful in life instead of bitter & resentful.”
“Mindfulness has been a lifeline for me just now, my way of coping”
“I so look forward to my sessions each week, in the dark days I now have tools to help me cope.”