We just don’t know, do we--whether cancer is related to genetics or environmental issues or both? What we do know is that cancer plays no favorites--it chooses youngsters, the elderly and every age in between.
When it strikes the older folks, we often say, “Well, he lived a good, long life.” When a child is diagnosed, we diligently pray for that good, long life to be a reality for him or her. We pray that treatment is merely a temporary necessity to make them better and healthy once again.
Do you ever wonder what these youngsters in cancer treatment are thinking? Being sick is never fun, but the hope is always for a happy outcome. In the interim, everyone involved is fearful--the children themselves, friends, parents and grandparents. It is a waiting game.
Patricia David, RN, MSW, wants to help children who are facing the paths that a cancer diagnosis causes them to travel. Her children’s book, Hugs Inc. uses four stuffed animals--Oliver the dragon, Jazzy the frog, Rosie the beagle, and Sparky the starfish to guide the children through scary times involving their treatment.
Hugs Inc. explains ports, side effects and the fact that cancer isn’t contagious. It sends a solid message that cancer strikes people of all nationalities and that hair loss and fatigue are often a result of treatment. Most importantly, it reminds them that they are not alone.
Hugs are known to offer healthy benefits such as healing feelings of loneliness, isolation and anger. A long hug can elevate serotonin levels, lifting moods and making people feel happier. It is even reported that hugs can strengthen the immune system.
Hugs that are punctuated with genuine love and concern are more than just an empty gesture. They reach in and bathe the soul in sunlight.
Patricia David tackled a topic that people generally don’t want to think about--much less address. She allowed Oliver, Jazzy, Rosie and Sparky to serve as caring, special friends to patients Zarah, Winnie, Caroline and Molly, giving them hope and companionship.
If only the children’s cancer treatment centers across the nation--hey even across the world--could see the value of utilizing this book with its adorable, vivid illustrations to make this path just a little bit easier for these young patients, what a blessing that would be.
If you know of a pediatric cancer patient who could benefit by owning this book, Hugs Inc. is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
The Amazon link is: http://amzn.to/1kTkWjM
Give a gift of hope along with a big, therapeutic hug!
Hugs Inc. is designed as an informational tool for anyone concerned about pediatric cancer most notably, children in classrooms, their teachers, newly diagnosed children seeking answers, and families trying to explain this disease to siblings, family members, neighbors, and the public in general but with an uplifting twist. The need for hope, understanding, guidance and support (HUGS) serve as key factors in the healing process. A Pediatric Oncologist provided technical support for this book while Patricia David created terminology for all to understand. This is her first in a series of children’s books about Pediatric Cancer.
In the Author’s Words
Why did I write Hugs Inc?
Having worked with children diagnosed with cancer from the early 1960’s to the present day, one quality remains constant and that is valor. These children and their families are brave. They fight this war of pediatric cancer with such grace.
Writing Hugs Inc. is my way of saying thank you to all the families over these many years. Their grit and strength, their heroism is amazing.
I’ve been with families when they are confused by medical terminology shaking their heads in agreement, but not truly understanding the meaning of treatments and medical interventions. All they know is that their child has cancer.
I wanted to present a book with understandable, age appropriate terminology. A book where each child can learn healthy outlets to express their emotions and a safe place where they can identify with the multiple changes experienced when going through cancer treatment.
Each toy character is matched with a child to fill a specific need. Let me give you a couple of examples: Winnie is a little girl diagnosed with Leukemia. Her anxiety takes the form of non-stop talking and high energy. Jazzy a wise, jazz-singing frog from N’Awlins creates a space for her to calm herself and to balance. While Matty, a little boy from Central Mexico, now confined to a wheelchair, struggling with Rhabdomyosarcoma, identifies with Al a Red Kneed Tarantula, from the same location in Mexico, who provides a place for this young boy to express his feelings in his own language. Al also brings such joy and laughter to offset overwhelming emotions.
Why did I write this book? The answer is clear. The angels gave me no choice.
Patricia (Pat) David
About the Author
Patricia (Pat) David is a retired Registered Nurse and Clinical Social Worker living in South Carolina.
She and her husband, Gary and rescue dog, Betsy reside in the small community of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. Pat has taken an interest in children throughout her professional career serving as a Pediatric Nurse, in addition to a School Nurse, as well as Clinical Social Worker/ School Mental Health Counselor for more than 25 years. Pat is inspired by the courage and strength of children and their families as they weave their way through the many issues facing them with a cancer diagnosis.
She volunteers at a camp in North Carolina designed for children diagnosed with cancer. The children affectionately call her “Glamour Gertie,” or “Miss G.” as she provides complete
transformations/makeovers for all of the girls. Pat believes that, “These children possess amazing energy and cancer is an illness that doesn’t stop them from pursuing their dreams.”
Most recently, Pat volunteers at Jason’s House, a faith based, charitable organization located in Surfside Beach South Carolina which provides a full week, all expenses paid, vacation for children diagnosed with cancer, their siblings, parents and even grandparents. Miss G. is there with her feathered boas and makeup palate. It’s transformations and hugs for all.
More thoughts by Mary Anne:
I can tell you that I know Patricia David, and she is one of the most caring individuals walking the planet. In fact, she may just be one of those angels in disguise!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all. We'll see you again in January!
All the best,
Mary Anne Benedetto
Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!