SOMC Cancer Center helping ‘Kids Cope’

Published 10:24 am Friday, January 9, 2009

PORTSMOUTH —Southern Ohio Medical Center is helping children of cancer patients gain a better understanding of the disease through a special support group called “Kids Cope.”

“We meet whenever necessary and our sessions are usually made up of patients, their children and nurses and employees of the center,” Stephanie Craft, licensed social worker of the SOMC Cancer Center, said.

Craft explained that during the sessions, families play games and make crafts, but also spend a lot of time talking about cancer and the different problems and treatments that mommy or daddy is going through, depending on the questions or concerns of the children.

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“The process that a parent might go through when explaining cancer to a child alone can be very hard and emotional,” she said. “A lot of the time, children get upset or confused, leading to anxiety in both parties. Our Kids Cope program is a way to offer support and alleviate anxiety by providing an open outlet for discussion about all cancer-related issues.”

Staff members of the Cancer Center also try to lighten group members’ spirits through holiday parties and fun get-togethers.

“Last year we held a Trick-or-Treat Halloween party for the group and just recently we got together to celebrate Christmas,” Craft said.

“We decorated bags, filled them with candy, and Santa even stopped by with his sleigh. We had a ton of people show up, including children from the surrounding neighborhood, to see him. It was a really nice way to spend time with our patients and give back to them and their family during the holiday season.”

“Currently our program is only open to our cancer patients, but we hope to see it evolve into the community in the future,” Wendi Waugh, director of the SOMC Cancer Center said. “We’re always looking for ways to provide better services to our local area and if the need is there, we will try to meet it. We want to help out however we can.”

For more information about the Kids Cope program, or about services offered at the SOMC Cancer Center, please call 356-7490 or visit the Cancer Center Web site at