It’s hard to think of the devastating effects a cancer diagnosis can have on a family, especially if it’s your teenage daughter. Suddenly everything is in turmoil, addressing numerous issues that have never been anticipated. While the parents are immersed in focusing on treatment, all too often the immediate and long-term concerns of other children in the family are often overlooked. Zoe was 19 years old when she was diagnosed with leukaemia.
A cancer diagnosis affects ALL of the family in so many ways. Each family member requires very specific help and guidance, yet together they also need to learn how they can support each other during this traumatic time.
The Cancer Fund provides a holistic family approach to help guide, nurture and care for anyone touched by cancer.
But we need your help to continue to provide our much needed free professional services to ensure no one faces cancer alone. We are experiencing a shortfall in funding and need to raise HK$2 million. Can you help us?
A cancer diagnosis can come at any stage in someone’s life, not just the old and young but also those who have just started on their career paths, or young adult life. Zoe had just started university when she was diagnosed.
At the Cancer Fund we have created our ‘You Can Group’ specifically targeted for young adults like Zoe. Their needs and concerns are unique to their age group and they require very specific help and guidance.
Young adults face a range of specific challenges during and after a cancer experience. We offer an array of services and programmes for those aged 18 to 39 to strengthen their coping skills, provide networking opportunities with other young survivors and promote a sense of normality and optimism.
We would be so grateful for your generous support for our free cancer care. You will enable us to make life better and ensure no on faces cancer alone. Please help us continue to make a life-saving difference. It is your generosity that brings warmth to the hearts of those touched by cancer in Hong Kong.
Zoe’s whole family was affected by her sudden diagnosis. With no family history of leukaemia it was the furthest thing from their mind. Zoe had started to feel ill in November 2018. She thought she had caught the flu that had been going around the university. But she couldn’t shake it off. She was constantly tired and had no energy at all.
At Christmas, she spent her time resting and relaxing with her parents and younger sister. Her Mum noticed that she had lost weight and looked pale so took her to the doctor for a check-up. Zoe had a physical exam and routine blood test. The results came back with a high white blood cell count. Zoe was referred to a hematologist and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia, a very aggressive form of cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
The news was devastating for the entire family. Her parents were in shock and younger sister Olivia, aged 10 years old, was confused. She later told us:
“It was so unreal. I thought only old people got cancer, my sister was only 19 years old. I would wake up every morning and think it was just a bad dream. But it wasn’t, it was real.”
Zoe’s chemotherapy treatment started immediately. Zoe’s Mum had been a monthly donor of the Cancer Fund for nearly 5 years and knew about our free professional services. She called our Helpline and spoke to Nikki at our Kwai Chung Centre and arranged a meeting.
“I have been a donor for many years as I wanted to help people with cancer, I never thought that my daughter would have cancer and that I would need to turn to the Cancer Fund for help for myself and my family.
Nikki was so helpful. She arranged for all of us to have a one-on-one consultation and also as a family group. She recommended the ‘You Can’ peer support group for Zoe. I also saw Fion who helped me with a diet plan which I could work in with all of the family meals.
It had affected us all, Olivia was in denial and had retreated in to herself and I didn’t know how to reach her. Nikki was there for Olivia to help talk her through her sister’s diagnosis”.
Our frontline professional teams were able to help Zoe and all of her family. Olivia was having a particularly hard time with processing the diagnosis. Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia develops rapidly and medical treatment is sought out quickly.
When Zoe was recovering from treatment at home she was able to spend time with Olivia and to rebuild the sibling bond. Zoe told us:
“My younger sister has always looked up to me and followed me around when we were children but we had grown apart when I started university. Whilst recovering from my chemotherapy she would want to spend hours with me in my room. I could see the fear behind her eyes, especially when I lost all of my hair. Everything had happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to think of how Olivia was coping with it all.
One of Nikki’s suggestions was to keep a journal and write down how I was feeling every day, even if it was just one word. At first I was hesitant but once I started I realized just how helpful it was. She had also suggested the same to Olivia but she couldn’t see the point in it. We chatted about it and I even shared a few of my diary entries with her, she told me later that she then secretly started doing one too!”
Will you help us reach our target of HK$2 million by giving a gift of HK$500 or more? Please send a generous gift so that many more people like Zoe and her family can receive our free professional cancer services. Providing care is at the heart of our work and we are committed to serving those in need.
HK$500 – Will enable two patients to take part in our emotion and stress management Wellness programme.
HK$1,000 – Will support two people with a tailored meal plan by our dietitian to help maintain a healthy weight, improve strength and overall quality of life.
HK$1,500 – Will help two families with the emotional support and case management required with a family counselling session at one of our Centres.
We do not receive any funding from the government or the Community Chest and rely solely on the kindness of people like you. Only through your generosity can we reach our target of HK$2 million. Your donations really do make a difference.
Over the years, I have witnessed so many miracles of generosity when we needed it. We would be eternally grateful if you can continue to help us with timely financial assistance. Zoe wants to share a final message:
“Thank you for your generosity! I cannot express how grateful our entire family is to the Cancer Fund. It is nearly 3 years since I was diagnosed. I am now back studying for my final year at University, through Zoom. I continue to attend programmes for the ‘You Can Group’ and I’m very active in their chat rooms and all social media. I find that I am feeling stronger every day and my bond with my younger sister and family continues to grow. It has been a tough time for all of us and I cannot thank everyone enough for all they have done”.
With your support, our team can restore confidence, provide reassurance and give back control to all those who need it through our free professional care services. We will continue to work towards a future where survivors can look forward to leading full and productive lives, without penalty from their treatment or status as a cancer survivor. You can help make this vision a reality.
Overcoming cancer requires more than just medicine. You are really making a tremendous difference to peoples’ lives through your generosity.
Thank you for helping to ensure no one faces cancer alone.
Tel: (852) 3656 0800