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How to have fun with a family fighting pediatric cancer this summer

Summertime is finally here and you are ready to make the most of it—beach days, hanging out by the pool, evening ice cream runs… the whole thing! While you plan your summer activities, we want to provide some helpful thoughts to help you care for and have summer fun with your friends and family members who are fighting pediatric cancer. Grab your favorite flavor popsicle and let’s learn together! 

  1. Be aware that a family fighting pediatric cancer may not always be able to keep up with an exciting, fast-paced summer. 

While we know that kiddos fighting cancer are the toughest kids out there, these fighters may need extra rest this summer. Keep your plans and expectations optimistic, but open-minded and be understanding and supportive when your friends may need to take a rain check and have a rest day. 

  1. Plan for some low-key summer activities. 

While every family and situation is unique, if your friends aren’t feeling up to high-energy activities but still want some company, you can explore some relaxing summer activities like a movie marathon under an epic blanket fort or an indoor craft project. Get creative and let them be the judge of a cannonball competition or sand castle building showdown while they rest under the shade. 

If your friends simply need to spend some time resting alone, you can always drop off a sweet refreshing treat like popsicles or ice cream and a note of encouragement to make sure they know you are thinking of them. 

  1. Come prepared for the summer sun! 

When you are able to enjoy some time in the sunshine with your friends who are fighting pediatric cancer, here are some things you want to be aware of. 

Remember that when kids are fighting cancer, their bodies are working overtime to fight off cancer cells, and their treatment may have weakened their immune systems. This means their bodies are extra sensitive to the harsh summer sunlight, so hats, long sleeves, and lots of sunscreen are more important than ever. Keep this in mind and help remind kiddos to reapply sunscreen frequently and play in the shade whenever possible. 

  1. Stay hydrated! 

We know it is important to monitor water intake for all kiddos during the hot summer months, but for a kiddo who is going through chemotherapy treatment, staying hydrated is critical. Intense medications like those in the chemotherapy family can cause unwanted effects if they are too highly concentrated in little bodies. Drinking plenty of water helps their bodies flush out toxins that can build up from their medications. Also, (like we already learned) their bodies are working extra hard to fight off cancer cells and regular germs since their immune systems are weakened by treatment, so it’s important to fuel their bodies with plenty of water to support them as much as possible. 

It’s extra important to watch out for signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion for kiddos fighting cancer in the summer. Be vigilant in watching out for flushed faces, dizziness, nausea and headaches and be prepared to move inside whenever necessary. It can be helpful to keep a thermometer handy during the summer months to help determine the difference between a fever and heat exposure. 

  1. Get educated about their CVL.

Some kids who are fighting cancer may have a CVL (Central Venous Line), an exposed line extending out from the chest that is accessed for treatment. It’s important to keep their CVL covered and protected while they are around water. A child with a port or CVL should not be submerging themselves in a pool and should cover it with an item such as AquaGuard. When multiple kids are playing together, it’s important to make sure they are all aware of their friend’s CVL and are careful not to hit or tug on their friend too hard to avoid irritating it. 

  1. Research the coolest indoor activities near you. 

Check out some local indoor summer activities to enjoy with your kiddos and their friends who are fighting pediatric cancer. Museums, aquariums and indoor parks are great choices for summer fun without having to worry about the sun or heat causing problems for the kiddos. Some fun, indoor activity locations may have times outside of normal operating hours that they are open for guests who can’t be around others. Do a little research on places near you and plan a day trip with your crew. 

For kiddos who may need to keep their distance from people during treatment, you can help keep them safe by communicating that need to others around them in public spaces. You can kindly help other kids and adults understand that it is important not to hug or share drinks or food with the kiddo, and help explain why a mask may be necessary for the kiddo to wear. 

Are you ready to tackle the summer?! We are! More than anything, it’s important to make sure your friends and family who are fighting pediatric cancer know that you want to spend time with them this summer, and that you are ready to accommodate them however you can.

Kids fighting cancer spend a lot of time isolated from their friends, and they may be struggling with feeling left out while others plan summer activities. You can help minimize those lonely feelings by shifting some of your plans to make sure they can be involved in all the fun happening this summer.

Awesome job educating yourself and being the community these families need this summer. This is what it means to love and serve the pediatric cancer community! 

Here at Roc Solid, we love and serve families fighting pediatric cancer through providing Ready Bags at diagnosis and playsets during treatment. Help us reach more families—make a donation here