21 local Newmarket area youth (0-18 years) will be sent to the VIRTUAL PEDIATRIC CHRISTMAS PARTY December 18th at no cost to them or their parents. This is a free program for youth negatively impacted by diagnosis of life-threatening illness, by offering a proper Christmas holiday celebration.
Kids are devastated financially/socially/emotionally; this one day will allow kids to be kids again, have something to look forward to, and good memories to recall during their challenges. Whether the child is the patient or has an ill parent, all are impacted and feel the effects of diagnosis. Pediatric patients are robbed of childhood; siblings feel neglected telling parents they wish they were sick so they could get attention; others reverse roles, becoming caregiver to their ill parent, thus interrupting healthy psychological development. Family dynamics change so escaping for one memorable day helps in unmeasurable ways, permitting youth to have a normal childhood experience, albeit virtual this year.
Social workers and Child Life Specialists from Southlake Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children (for those requiring specialized care) refer their low-income, vulnerable local at-risk youth to attend for the benefit of improved mental health. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been especially difficult for these children, with increased social isolation due to illness and Covid-19 restrictions.
Illness isolates during the best of times, so this day brings fun back, reconnecting families and peers. “It is important to address ongoing and emerging needs of the child and their family to achieve complete and long-term healing” (www.kidswithcancer.ca).
The virtual format enables Santa and Mrs. Claus to visit from the North Pole, enjoyment of a children’s entertainer, music, provision of a gift card to a toy store of the child’s choice, and of course a chance just to have some fun again with other kids, seeing they are not the only ones who are ill.
Funded by Newmarket, ON (November 2021)