One of the charities that has benefitted from funds raised from the 2020 RTÉ Toy Show Appeal was ARC Cancer Support Centres (ARC). The monies received are being used by ARC to introduce a new Family Support Service to support children/young people where a parent has a cancer diagnosis, children/adolescents with cancer (severe illnesses) and siblings i.e. child/teen where a brother/sister has cancer.
The funds raised will allow ARC to provide psycho-social support for all family members. These include: one to one counselling, couples counselling, teen counselling, play therapy for children with cancer, sibling therapy, monthly talks and workshops for families, bereavement counselling, and the adaptation of a room specifically for play therapy with resources. It is anticipated that 500 children and young people facing trauma and grief because of cancer will be supported through this programme.
Lorcan (aged 7), Dillon (aged 9) and Ronan (age 11) have benefited hugely from the support they have gotten from ARC over the past few years.
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The boy's mum Siobhan explains how ARC supported the whole family:
"We have been blessed to have the support from ARC in South Circular Road for the last 4 years. Peter and I both got counselling and other treatments, etc. which were fantastic to have. I remember when Peter was first diagnosed, I came in and will never forget the way I was looked after.
Our 3 boys all did the CLIMB programme which really helped them because it normalised the situation for them. It helped them see that they were not the only ones who had a sick parent.
Dillon and Lorcan are both getting art and play therapy around bereavement now since Peter died in June. Ronan(11) will hopefully also get some when there is another space.
Dillon(9) wouldn't normally talk about his grief and is definitely happier every time he comes out. He even told me recently that he was feeling a bit down which is huge progress.
Lorcan(7) started last Tuesday and loved it. He had been feeling sick with his sadness and I had to collect him from school one day because he felt so sick. We chatted about it and realised it was because he was sad so I rang Arc. Once he heard he was going to be going to something that would help him manage his sadness he felt a bit better immediately. He was really looking forward to it. Then on Tuesday, he told me he felt really good coming out. He wanted to go straight back in! I have to tell Aoife that he told me that she is one of his people that he would now want to talk to if he needed to speak to someone.
It is such an important activity for them to have at this point in time and is benefitting them hugely. We really appreciate the work that you do and have done, so thank you."