To Help Kids Handle Stress of Cancer, Community Program Encourages Fun
When a family is facing a disease like cancer, fun is often the farthest thing from their minds. But young kids are meant to have fun. The belief that childhood and fun should go hand-in-hand, even if the child in question has a parent who is battling cancer, helped inspire a kid-focused program called On Belay, the subject of this HooplaHa Original video.
Crescentia Healy-True was a mom to two girls when she was diagnosed with cancer, and she sensed immediately that her daughters would need support systems in their lives to, first, help them continue to indulge in fun activities, and second, connect with other kids going through the same thing they were. It's the magical combination of both goals that makes On Belay so powerful in the lives of the young people who participate.
"I remember being really angry and really upset all the time," says Anna McCusker, age 15, about the time when her family was consumed with worry about cancer, "because my aunt was really close to me, and there was nothing that I could do to help her... But now that I have On Belay, I can come here and just forget about everything at home... and I can talk to people about it, and it's okay, because they're like, I understand."
The feeling that Anna describes aligns beautifully with what Crescentia Healy-True hoped to instill in kids through the program. "On belay means basically that 'I've got you' or 'I'm holding onto you,'" explains Liz Weld, the On Belay Program Director. The term comes from climbing, which is done in pairs or groups, and which is one of the On-Belay program's various kinds of adventure activities. "So it's creating that metaphor for, no matter what happens, you're safe."
This video was produced by Lucia Nazzaro and shot/edited by Heather Holloway. Want to see more awesome kid-related videos? Visit the Kids Are Awesome YouTube page, part of the HooplaHa Network... and don't forget to smile.