cancercareWalking Miracles founder Brett Wilson, has a Master's degree in community agency counseling from Marshall University and realized the need for counseling (Psychosocial Oncology) for pediatric cancer patients after he graduated in 1998. He ended up moving to Durham, NC to do his gradute internship at Duke Universities Cancer Patient Support Program so he could learn how to start such a program back in WV.  Brett's passion in this area is driven by his own personal experince as he had some of these same issues during his own childhood cancer journey.

 The impact of having cancer as a child can have a life long impact both psychosocially and physically. This not only affects the child being treateed but the family as well. As a child recieveing treatment your brain is trying to focus on so many things. First, the stresses of the cancer itself and staying strong mentally during the blood tests, spinal taps, bone marrows, chemotherapy, radiation and any surgeries. Then a child has to go from that mental focus to adapting to school where they are faced with a whole new set of rules. This is true especially during their younger years where fitting in with other children their own age. This is where they are learning to gain their independence and developing a positive self esteem and identity which is so important. Dealing with the mental riggers of beating the disease is hard enough to deal with, not to mention the physical changes one goes through makes it hard to gain acceptance from peers at school.The side effects of the treatments start to show up during the middle school years and can impact the emotional stablility (crying, depression, anxiety Etc.) of a child but can also be physical issues. Some of the physical effects documented in survivorship literature include growth issues, hair loss, weight gain, fertility issues, hormonal problems and possibly other organs being effected.  These effects can make it very difiicult to establish new friendships and realtionships. Now survivorship data documents cognitive issues that can happen because of chemotherapy treatments and radiation, especially cranial radiation, which can impact a childs ability learn or cause disabilites that can make certain school subjects very difficult. Being made fun of because of the lack of understanding a childs needs while getting treatment or being a cancer survivor makes things more difficult and makes children trying to fit in and be normal even more abnormal and creating emotional stability during this time is paramount to creating a positive attitude and a better quality of life for the child.Then you have the emotional enviornment at home and that is one of the most difficult areas as coping skills used to deal with the disease and school can hinder things at home and could block communication or feelings or true thoughts on how the family feels, or is is impacted. It could create negative thoughts and feelings that are kept hidden as not to upset another family member.  That is why this program was created to help pantients and families get connected to services that can help them with emotional issues during their cancer treatment.

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