Dealing with Cancer, Together

This spring, when AHS student Sarah Parks was deciding on how to go about her senior project, she knew that she wanted to choose something meaningful and relevant to her life. It was science teacher Ms. DeSalvo who first introduced her to the idea of helping facilitate a support group for teens whose families are effected by cancer.
As a seven-year old, Parks watched her father struggle with cancer, then pass away.Because of this experience, she quickly became interested in Ms. DeSalvo’s idea. In March of this year, Sarah became involved in Kids Konnected, an organization which provides support groups for children whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer. Since then, she has been helping in a group of young children.

“When you’re that young, you don’t really understand that you’re dad is going away forever,” Parks reflected on her own ordeal, “You want to know why he can’t come and play now.  I  didn’t take the time with my dad like I should’ve. That’s what I want to give kids: to prepare them for what is really happening… To show them that things might not be like a movie.”

Although the children’s support-group has been running for several years, Kids Konnected hopes to soon launch a similar group for teens. This is where Parks comes in with her senior project. Currently she is helping advertise the group, but once it is started, she will help by participating in meetings.

The group will involve collage, poems, art, and talking within a circle. Though talking about and expressing complicated emotions can be sad, Parks anticipates that the support-group will be “a lot of fun.” She sees it as an excellent opportunity to make friends through shared experience. The group will also be an eye-opener. Teens dealing with cancer in the family will be able to see how they are not alone. There are many others dealing with the same problems.

Explained Parks, “If [teens] are scared to talk to their parents, it’s a place where they can let it out… where we’ll be there for them.”

For anyone curious about joining Sarah’s group:
Meetings will happen every first and third Tuesday of the month from 5:30-7:00 PM at The Sharing Place in Medford.

For more information, contact Fawn Gonzales at 541-944-7711.