Children with Cancer UK supports new siblings programme from Beads of Courage UK

Leading childhood cancer charity, Children with Cancer UK, is supporting the Beads of Courage UK Siblings Programme, which will provide help and guidance for children whose siblings have been diagnosed with cancer.

Children with Cancer UK is supporting the new Siblings Programme, which launches this month, as part of its five year partnership with Beads of Courage UK.

Beads of Courage UK has supported over 14,000 children and families across the UK following the diagnosis of a serious, chronic, or life-threatening illness. Its new Siblings Programme is designed to support children whose siblings are going through cancer treatment, and give them the courage to cope with challenging situations.

The pilot scheme of the Siblings Programme will launch in the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and Sussex NHS Foundation Trust this March, and will roll out to further hospitals across the UK over the next year.

The scheme has launched with the support of ambassador Isabel Cork, aged 10 from Hampshire. In a special film, Isabel and her mum Sarah explain how the Siblings Programme has helped Isabel during her brother Thomas’ cancer treatment, allowing her to feel supported and understood. Thomas was diagnosed with a rare cancer type in October 2020.

Amar Naher, CEO Children with Cancer UK, said:

“We’re so pleased to support this important programme from Beads of Courage UK as part of our ongoing partnership. When a family receives the diagnosis that one of their children has cancer, their siblings can often feel like they have become less of a focus. The Siblings Programme is designed to give those children the support they need and remind them of their important role within the family, and how they can be a part of their sibling’s cancer journey.

“The Beads of Courage packs provide vital mental health support for children as they navigate the challenges of a cancer diagnosis and we’re delighted that the programme is now extended to siblings, so that every young person can be given the hope, guidance and encouragement they need during such a difficult and confusing time.”

Children taking part in the Siblings Programme will receive a Beads of Courage pack with each bead representing a powerful animal, alongside a collection of stories, helping the child to process and communicate their feelings in their own way – either on a one-to-one basis with a parent or as a shared activity with their sibling.

Once a sibling has been enrolled on the programme, there will be opportunities to participate in quarterly bead challenges to accrue an extra bead, so keep an eye out on the Beads of Courage UK Facebook page for such events. Each extra bead represents key milestones including birthdays, events and completing treatment such as chemotherapy and captures the moments they have shared together.

John Drummond, co-founder of Beads of Courage UK, said:

“Our goal is to shine a light on the childhood trauma that often impacts the siblings of a child diagnosed with cancer. Through our new Siblings Programme, we hope that we can support the mental health and wellbeing of every young cancer patient and their sibling, one bead at a time. Together with Children with Cancer UK, our aim is to give every young brother or sister the courage they need to move forward, and the tools to help them thrive.”

Children with Cancer UK is the leading national children’s charity working towards a world where every child survives cancer.

Amar Naher adds:

“As a charity, it’s our mission to fund vital scientific research into the causes of cancer, support families and raise awareness. Our continued partnership with Beads of Courage UK will help us to support thousands of young children and their families in hospitals and oncology wards across the UK, and we’re so proud to work together on this important initiative.”

Survival rates for children’s cancers are improving. Fifty years ago, three-quarters of children diagnosed with cancer died; today more than 8 in 10 children diagnosed with cancer in the UK survive. However, with around 4,200 new cases each year in the UK, it is still one of the leading causes of death for children and young people.

To watch the Children with Cancer and Beads of Courage UK campaign film, featuring Isabel’s story, visit: Beads of Courage UK | Siblings Programme | Children with Cancer UK

For more information about Children with Cancer UK, go to www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk and to find out about Beads of Courage UK, visit www.beadsofcourageuk.org