Father’s Day Wishes and Thoughts

Father’s Day Wishes and Thoughts

On the Needs of Pediatric Cancer Patient Fathers

Dad holding his sonOn Father’s Day, Here to Serve would like to extend warm wishes for all fathers in the Here to Serve Community, especially those fathers parenting a child with cancer. These yearly milestones for families are very important; they indicate growth, challenges, and deepen family bonds.

Positive Life Changes for Fathers

When a family is on a cancer journey, these milestones can be monumental. And while the stresses and PTSD symptoms are important to acknowledge, there is also growing interest in understanding how families experience positive changes in the face of a life-threatening diagnosis in one of their children. Findings from recent studies indicate that fathers were able to find benefit in the cancer experience of their child leading to lasting positive changes in their lives in the areas of self-growth, spirituality, and relationships with others.

In a study conducted by University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Children’s Hospital and partially funded by the National Cancer Association, father’s of cancer patients were asked to rank their answers to  a series of questions such as:

Dad holding his daughter at the hospital

  • Having a child with cancer has… taught me how to adjust to things I cannot change.
  • Having a child with cancer has… helped me become a stronger person, more able to cope effectively with future life challenges.
  • Having a child with cancer has… helped me become more focused on priorities, with a deeper sense of purpose in life.
  • Having a child with cancer has…taught me to be patient
  • Having a child with cancer has…Led me to deal better with stress and problems
  • Having a child with cancer has…helped me become more aware of the love and support available from other people

The results showed, on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the most positive), the fathers endorsed high levels of benefit finding (M=4.1 out of 5).

There are increasingly studies examining the benefit outcome of a life-threatening illness. Studies of  PTSD symptoms and treatments are certainly more common, and the results of many benefit studies have limited participant scope.

Fathers During the Cancer JourneyDad and his daughter smiling

For both areas of study, the acknowledgement of the unique position of fathers in the family cancer journey will hopefully help to provide support to fathers during this challenging time. Fathers’ experiences are relatively underreported in literature; their societal responsibility for family stability can sometimes create self-doubt for their own intense emotional reactions to medical treatments, difficulty in finding adequate treatments, feelings of vulnerability, and general worry.

Support is Crucial

One common result between both areas of study is that support from extended family, a place of worship, and health care professionals is crucial for parents of pediatric cancer patients. Further results indicate the immense benefits for fathers who participate in father-on-father group therapy sessions. Locating a father support group can sometimes present its own challenge: time and resources are limited, the focus is on supporting your child in every way possible.

Here to Serve has been supporting families through their cancer journeys for over 12 years. We are here to provide excellent, appropriate, and trusted resources and wraparound services that will meet your individual needs. Please don’t hesitate to contact us, just click on the website link to connect with us!

Father and son with cancer smiling at the coast

Author: Valerie Radford Cox

Valerie worked in the field of Institutional Advancement and Communications both internationally and domestically for many years. She now creates Story Coats in her studio in Oregon, and enjoys working with the Here to Serve Social Media team to expand the reach of their services to a greater audience.