At Why Me we understand that the diagnosis and treatment phases are just the beginning of a life-long involvement with cancer. In some cases, the cancer is incurable. We stand beside our families throughout each of their journeys and work to maintain balance and restore harmony in every life we touch.
Parent to Parent Support Group
The Parent to Parent Support Group is a peer group that offers support and information for those who have a child with cancer–whether on treatment or who have completed treatment. Our monthly meetings inform families about different aspects of childhood cancer and enable parents to gain confidence by sharing their experiences with each other. More importantly, this group offers a safe environment for parents to openly discuss various medical and social issues related to childhood cancer.
As the parent of a child with cancer, it is not uncommon to feel the emotional, psychological and financial impact of a child’s illness. These are reoccurring themes that the group discusses. Some meetings have a specific topic or guest speaker while other dates have an open forum for parents to address their individual concerns and questions, to share experiences and to offer advice to one another.
The group is facilitated by Director of Family Services, Danielle Sikonski, and a local Pediatric Social Worker. Any family who has had a child in active treatment is welcome, regardless of the treating institution. Please visit our calendar or Facebook page for the scheduled monthly meeting date. Visit our Parent to Parent FAQ PDF.
Circle of Healing Bereavement Group
This is a monthly support group for any parents or extended family members grieving the loss of a child due to cancer, regardless of the treating institution. The families that attend are at various stages in their bereavement journey and support each other by listening and sharing. Several attendees are many years along in their grief and offer a helpful perspective on a variety of topics including anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, personal belongings, issues with family and friends and the ways their bereavement unfolded over time. This group is facilitated by Mark Wyco, a Why Me dad and Worcester firefighter who lost his daughter to a brain tumor, and Executive Director David Hagan.
Mixture of Memories
This is a monthly support group that focuses on sibling bereavement for children. A facilitator uses a variety of activities and crafts to encourage the children to explore and share their feelings related to the loss of their siblings. This group is offered at the same time as the Circle of Healing meeting for parents. It is particularly important because a sibling’s bereavement journey evolves with each developmental stage; grief issues are revisited with changing life events. Sharing their common experience with other siblings in a small supportive group can be an important part of coping with family issues, reducing isolation and improving communication.
Family Dinners are held once a month at Sherry’s House and are open to all Why Me families. Family dinners provide the opportunity to meet other families and interact in a casual, comfortable setting. We serve a home-cooked meal and have volunteers on hand to play with children. Family Dinner is a nice way to get to know other families in a relaxed no pressure atmosphere, while enjoying a good meal.
Stay and Play
Stay and Play is a play group and parent social held weekly at Sherry’s House for families with young children. Our goal is to provide parents an opportunity to socialize with other parents outside the hospital setting. We currently have many children on treatment who are too young to attend school. Stay and Play offers a fun and safe atmosphere for children to explore, grow and interact with other children. We often have volunteers on hand to help out with childcare and give parents some respite. Siblings are welcome. Parents with children who are in school are still welcome to come and enjoy the morning with other parents. Coffee and light fare are provided.