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A young person shares advice on living with a seriously ill sibling (Scotland)

Be patient, be brave and have faith

Travis is 13 years old and lives in Scotland with his Mum, Dad and little brother, 7-year old Carter.

Travis and Carter are like typical brothers, they love to have a laugh with each other and play outside and on the Xbox together. 

Two years ago, Carter was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Understandably, this meant huge changes to the lives of every member of the family.

Thankfully, Travis found help at Clan Cancer Support in Aberdeen, through their Families & Children’s Support Service, supported by BBC Children.

In his own words, Travis describes his experience of living with a seriously ill sibling.

“I used Clan to help me cope when my brother was diagnosed. I have spoken about my feelings to my Support Worker Lisa, this has helped me understand and deal with what was going in our new life that was forced upon us.

Carter was diagnosed at the age of 5 in 2019. He has Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. Carter having LCH has affected us in many ways such as frequent trips to the hospital, having to change our daily lifestyle and routine to suit Carter’s needs.

Initially Lisa came to my house to meet me. She was very welcoming; we had a great chat and made a family tree. Then we did various things such as games and had lots of conversations. This helped me speak about any of the troubles I had on my mind. I also got to share the good things that had happened and the things I enjoyed. We made a leaflet called Support for Siblings (which is being printed by CLAN to give to other children with seriously ill children).

The support for siblings brochure as described in the article

Initially the inspiration came from one of Carter’s nurses. Then as time went on, I really wanted to help others in similar situations. Having a sibling go through Chemotherapy can be lonely and your world is turned upside down. I wanted other siblings in my situation to have something to relate to, so they didn’t feel alone.

I hope that someone will read the leaflet and know that they’re not on their own, that is in itself a great reward.

Clan has helped me open up a lot more and express how I am feeling. This has been important because it has allowed me to find coping mechanisms to help with my mental health.

If someone is going through the same thing as me, I would urge them not bottle up emotions and ask any questions. Be patient, be brave and have faith.”

See below for creative ideas to support children’s mental health….

Watch CLAN Children and Families Support Worker, Lindsey, talk through one of the ways she helps children affected by cancer to deal with change and grief.
Watch CLAN Children and Families Support Worker, Lindsey show how to design a Worry Doll at home.
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