Did you know it was National Stress Awareness Day on the 1st of this month? Whilst many of us get stressed out about day-to-day work stuff, home stuff, family stuff and other “stuff”, this month I’m thinking particularly about the prolonged stress that parents of children with cancer suffer on a daily basis.
Parents often blame themselves for their children’s diagnosis, when of course, there is nothing they could have done differently to prevent it. It’s the responsibility you feel as a parent, isn’t it? You’re supposed to be there to protect your child at all costs, and then suddenly, you’re completely unable to defend them.
Feeling powerless as a parent is devastating. And long-term stress is not good for you at all. For these parents, though it’s unavoidable: after diagnosis, treatment can last years, and even when it’s over, there are more years of check-ups and monitoring, all bringing their own stress. It’s at these stressful times that you need your tribe around you, whether they’re family or beyond.
Supershoes is very much a family concern. All my family are deeply involved: my own parents, my husband, my children. I feel that our Super Volunteers also form part of my extended family too! And I’m always so happy that their families also want to get involved in a variety of ways: helping out in the background at events, which is great, and also spreading the word about childhood cancer, which is so important.
Parents of children with cancer desperately need support from anyone who they count as “family”: friends, neighbours and caring folk who can empathise. Our good friends at CLIC Sargent are brilliant at this, and at Supershoes, we feel we also do our bit every time we contact a parent, to tell them a beautiful pair of Supershoes is on its way to their child, to make them feel Super-special. We talk to parents at other times too, via our Facebook page, when they ring to tell us how they’re getting on, which we love, and when they send photos and emails full of hope and inspiration.
It’s brilliant when some of those parents ask to become Super Volunteers too, because they know first-hand how stressful life is when your child is facing the battle of their life. We’re very happy to welcome them into our awesome Supershoes family. We know that helping others brings its own stress reduction too; it’s a known consequence, so win-win!
So, this month, do spare a thought for those parents whose stress is, unfortunately, destined to last for a lot longer than just one national day. And remember that those parents really need your friendship too, whatever form that takes.
Supershoes is happy, and privileged to be a “family friend” for as long as it takes.
With peace, love and gratitude