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“I was encouraged to bring my other daughters when Kayla was being treated. It helped them to understand more about what their sister was going through”
Siblings of children with a serious illness are often overlooked by parents and family consumed with the care of a sick brother or sister. Sibshops, a psycho-social program for siblings, was adopted by The Valerie Fund as a way for siblings of children with serious illness to obtain peer support and education within a recreational context.
Held twice a year, Sibshops provide brothers and sisters of children with cancer and blood disorders the opportunity to meet other siblings in a relaxed, recreational setting; discuss common joys and concerns; learn more about the implications of their brothers' or sisters' diseases and the special needs associated with it; and address their own feelings of guilt, embarrassment, shame, loneliness, resentment and the commonly experienced battle for parents' attention. For instance, a Sibshop session may provide a child with a safe environment where she feels freer to admit she resents the fact that her parents cannot come to her soccer game because they have to take her brother to the hospital for chemotherapy. At Sibshops sessions, siblings engage in activities that intervene therapeutically, such as role-playing; take part in group counseling conducted by a social worker or child life therapist; and play games and take part in activities that are purely recreational.
If you could like to learn about specific funding opportunities for this program, please contact Lori Abrams at (973) 761-0422 or LAbrams@TheValerieFund.org.
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