Online Message Board Helps Answer Questions, Reduce Isolation

<b>Online Message Board Helps Answer Questions, Reduce Isolation</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – “The Message Board did not exist when my daughter was ill,” says Sherri Barger. “Oh, how I wish it had. I was so scared, and I wanted to know that there was a chance for her to survive — and for me to survive.”

Many parents whose children have been diagnosed with cancer have had feelings similar to Barger’s. These parents usually experience fear and sometimes a sense of isolation. It may seem like everyone else has healthy children, and no one among their friends and family understands what they’re going through, according to Christine Leeper, manager of The National Children’s Cancer Society Care to Share Message Board and a case manager for the N.C.C.S.

“Once they get through that initial shock, parents have lots of questions, want advice, support, prayers or just to talk to someone who is going through the same thing,” says Leeper.

The N.C.C.S. launched its Care to Share online Message Board (www.thenationalchildrenscancersociety.org/forums) to help parents of cancer patients find each other. Divided into different sections for caregivers and survivors, the forums provide a free, open place to discuss active treatment and life after treatment, and to find emotional support and resources.

“The Message Board is available to families 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so they can reach out to someone and get a response when they need it,” says Leeper.

Barger and her daughter, Heather, who at one point, doctors gave a zero to five percent chance of survival against her battle with leukemia as a child, are regular contributors to the Message Board.

“When Heather was battling for her life, I was desperate to talk to someone who had survived the disease so I could cling to that hope,” says Barger.

Now, Barger and her daughter give hope to other parents and patients through the Care to Share Message Board.

“I have learned that for parents who have children with cancer, it is very helpful to be able to chat with another adult and ask questions, gather information, and vent their frustrations. It is also helpful for children to be able to talk to another child who has experienced some of the same things that they have,” says Heather. “This has made me want to be able to share my experiences with others and hopefully be able to make a difference in another person’s life.”

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