In August 2011, the Cool Kids Clubhouse in honor of Ken Singleton opened in Towson, MD with a goal of improving the quality of life of families dealing with childhood cancer. We implemented programs designed to reduce social isolation and lift spirits. As survivorship has improved, we have adapted our programs to meet families’ evolving needs.
In 2019, we added our free professional tutoring program because medical journals revealed that 1/3 of children treated for cancer were being held back a grade at school. And, we began incorporating educational experiences into our social events.
We’ve also taken our programs beyond the Clubhouse with camps for Cool Kids and siblings, retreats for moms and lots of educational and fun online programming. The challenges associated with cancer and its treatment don’t end when treatment ends, so we are here for our Cool Kids and their families throughout their survivorship.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The physical symptoms of cancer and the treatment of it can have serious social and emotional consequences for the child. Research indicates that the negative perception of self-appearance often found in children with cancer is associated with academic, social, and psychological impairment, low self-esteem, and symptoms of depression*
- Research indicates that childhood cancer survivors experience academic difficulties that contribute to social and emotional maladjustment. Contributing to the learning problems which many students with cancer face is the high rate of absenteeism that may result from hospitalizations, treatments, and treatment side effects. Children with leukemia report missing between 10 to 20 weeks of school in one year, and as a result, many of them repeat grades.*
- During a patient’s treatment for cancer, some siblings report feeling lonely and report decreased attention. Siblings may cognitively understand their brother or sister’s illness and increased needs, but can still exhibit impaired social and emotional health-related quality of life. Even 2 years after a child completes cancer treatment, a sibling’s emotional and social problems can continue **
*Psychological Impact of Childhood Cancer; Annie Toro, J.D., M.P.H.; Public Interest Government Relations Office; American Psychological Association; (202) 336-6068; [email protected]
**Impact of pediatric cancer on family relationships Craig Erker , Ke Yan, Liyun Zhang, Kristin Bingen, Kathryn E. Flynn & Julie Panepinto Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin