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New VIVA session starts April 13
Support program for youth living with loved ones who have cancer offers sharing, learning, fun
CHICO, Calif., April 1, 2009 – Enloe Medical Center’s VIVA support program for youth living with loved ones who have cancer will meet on Mondays, April 13 through May 11 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. VIVA offers these free sessions once or twice annually. Activities for the group this spring will include a variety of expressive art projects and a tour of the Enloe Regional Cancer Center. Please call Enloe’s Cancer Connections program at 332-3855 for an application and more information.
“Cancer is considered a family disease because it affects more than just the person who has cancer,” said Rebecca Senoglu, Cancer Support Program Liaison at Enloe’s Regional Cancer Center. “Even very young children know when something is different in their family. Many kids become confused, afraid, worried or even feel guilty when they do not understand what is happening. Many parents do not know how to approach the subject of cancer with their kids. At VIVA we break the ice. Fun projects are the emphasis, and trained personnel are available to help.”
Any child from age 6 through 16 who has a loved one dealing with cancer is invited to attend VIVA free of charge. The loved one can be a parent, sibling, grandparent or any significant other. As part of the program, each participating family receives a free Boys & Girls Club membership and the book Cancer in the Family from the American Cancer Society. For one of the five sessions, the group will tour the Enloe Regional Cancer Center and gets answers to their questions about cancer and its treatment from knowledgeable, trained personnel. For the last session, loved ones will be invited to see what the kids have been doing and share in a closing ceremony. The VIVA group will be facilitated by Sheri Martin, an Enloe social worker; Martha Andrade, a social work intern at Enloe; and Nancy Shanks, a child life specialist.
This year’s art projects will include a “Helping Hands” painting project and “Sweet Dreams” pillowcases. In past VIVA sessions, kids have created Dreamcatchers; “Helping Hands,” a large soft sculpture project; life-size “feelings” collages; a mobile project called “Got Guts? Hanging Art from the Inside Out”; “Sweet Dream” T-shirts; hope chests; and handmade ceramic “Bowls of Light.”
For healing arts programs such as VIVA, the Enloe Regional Cancer Center received the national 2008 Spirit of Planetree Arts & Entertainment Award.
“Families who have been through the program tell us that their kids benefited from the emotional support they received through sharing with other kids in a similar situation,” Senoglu said.
About Enloe’s Cancer Connections program: VIVA is part of Enloe’s Cancer Connections Program, which offers support and guidance to families dealing with cancer. At Enloe’s Cancer Center Library, picture books for very young children, material for teens, and how-to books and videos for parents and grandparents help families manage the many challenges that arise when a loved one is going through cancer treatment. For families with special needs, the Cancer Connections case management team offers individual support and counseling. The message of all Cancer Connections programs is the same: You do not have to face this journey alone.
Enloe Medical Center is a local, nonprofit health care organization. For more information, please call 530/332-7300 or visit us online at http://www.enloe.org. Enloe Medical Center is located at 1531 Esplanade Chico, Calif. 95926.