DIPG is a horrific brain tumor that is a death sentence for a child who has barely lived their life. The average survival time after diagnosis is 9 months. These 9 months are crucial for loved ones to make lasting memories with their child. Fundraising and searching for clinical trials or forms of treatment can keep parents very busy, but quality time with their child should be valued most when it’s allowed. It is important to support your child through this hard time and offer reassurance. Here are a few different ways to create memories with your child.
- Create a journal, like our founder John, to write in daily. Not only will you have this to look back on, it can help you cope. You can journal in several different ways. You can have a personal journal, one that you and your child can write in together, or one that your child creates. In addition to writing in your journal daily, add a picture of a memory from that day. You may also choose to create a blog! Blogs can help relay how things are going to loved ones. With vlogging, or video blogging, you can have heart warming videos to always see your child’s smiling face.
- Make keepsakes with your child. Create a scrapbook with various pictures and memories you’ve had with your family. You can include your child and family by having them help you choose the pictures and decorate. Have your child choose some of their favorite items and put them in a keepsake box. Find fun art projects to do with them. This will help keep their mind off the diagnosis and you will have a piece of their art to cherish.
- Create a wish list. Have your child tell you some of their favorite pastimes and restaurants. They may have a movie they really want to see in theaters or a new ice cream place they’ve been wanting to try. They may have been wanting to go to a certain sporting event or concert. Each day or week you can check off something on their list. This list can even contain items or toys they want and help with surprise presents. You can get family and friends involved too by sharing this list so they’re able to contribute.
- Do something new every day. Learn a new skill with your child or try a new restaurant. Make sure to take advantage of the little things you can do with them, every memory is important. You could go to a bakery, a movie, or a zoo. Since they are young, think of some “adult” things they can do. Girls can put makeup on their face or even give you a makeover! Kids love the idea of growing up and there are numerous ways they can get a glimpse into adult life.
- Keep all of your child’s artwork. Art is a way for kids to express how they feel, especially if they aren’t able to verbalize it. The picture above was made by Cristian Rivera. Our founder, John, is so thankful he kept Cristian’s artwork. Whether it’s a drawing or painting, you will be thankful you kept it to cherish their life and remember their unique personality. It may not look like anything more than scribbles, but it will be something physical they made that you can keep forever.
- Make a recipe book with all their favorite foods. Ask your child what their favorite foods are and keep a list. Each week you can make them a special meal. You can also have them help you make it, whether it’s cracking the egg or adding the milk. In the future you’ll have a book with these special recipes. You can also include a picture of your child with the food or eating the food with each recipe.
Have fun with them! These activities are great for all families, regardless of a cancer diagnosis. We all can find better ways to spend quality time together. Memories aren’t just about the activity you do, but it’s how that activity made you and your child feel. Which activity will you be trying out today?
By Rhea Maladkar