Sunday, August 23, 2015

Staying Connected

In the rare moments where there isn't something going on, I like to read. I recently started to read "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. It's a young-adult story telling the journey of young cancer patients and their relationships. I got to a part that really hit home for me. The main character was talking about how she didn't have anything in common with the other kids at her "normal" school because of her vastly different set of life experiences. It's hard to understand what a "bad day" means for chronically ill kids when your definition of bad day might be having no hot water and then losing your power as you try to blow-dry your hair after your cold shower. 

Jacob's bad days often end with an ER visit, being hooked to monitors and then hospitalized for a month. Jacob has very little in common with his peers. When they're off riding their bikes, jumping off diving boards, and kicking around a ball, Jacob's getting injections, learning about feeding tubes and waiting in a never-ending line of waiting rooms. 

Being chronically ill is socially isolating. It can destroy a child's confidence in their abilities, make them feel left out when they can't fully participate, and worse; remind them constantly that they are different. It can't be easy. 

Jacob's Healing Rooms is going to change this. There is a free program called UPopolis available to chronically ill children who are patients within the larger children's treatment hospitals across Canada. UPopolis is a secure online social networking site, where children can meet up to discuss what it's like at their hospital, to talk about living with their specific illness, and most of all to help them feel connected to others. 

By installing tablets at each treatment chair in the Medical Short Stay Unit, children will be able to have the opportunity to connect to other children at their own and other hospitals across Canada. It can help to build connections with other kids who understand what their "bad days" are like. It can help, in short, to foster a healing environment. The best thing is that with their free account, they can remain connected with their new friends while they are receiving outpatient services. 

Please consider making a donation to Jacob's Healing Rooms today. Together with your help, we can make a difference. To donate visit: Sick Kids Hospital Donation Page