Miller Children’s Hospital wins grant to fully implement sibling-support program

After being selected as one of 179 qualified hospitals, cancer centers and community organizations in eight regions across the United States for an online voting campaign, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach was the only California hospital announced as a LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project award recipient in the SuperSibs! category.
During a two-week period, more than 260,000 votes were cast, earning Miller Children’s the award to fully establish the SuperSibs! Program, which will provide ongoing, targeted support to an underserved and often unrecognized cancer survivor population– siblings of children with cancer. Miller Children’s is now the only hospital in California to have the full program available to patients and their family members.
“SuperSibs! ensures that these siblings, the ‘shadow survivors,’ do not feel alone, insignificant or forgotten, and can face the future with strength, courage and hope,” says Tammie Mitchell, social worker, Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center (JJCCC), Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. “When families are faced with challenging decisions, and are preparing for a battle against a life-threatening disease, everyday things are easily overlooked. That’s why this program is important, so that no child goes without the attention they deserve.”
The Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center currently offers the “Support Our Siblings” (SOS) Program, which is a monthly support group for siblings ages 8-15 of patients with cancer and serious blood disorders. SOS is a unique sibling program because it offers face-to-face interaction between siblings of cancer patients in the hospital and their care team. It is a group setting that allows kids to talk and bond with others and “shadow survivors.”
The siblings can learn from each other and have a place all their own to express themselves, as well as go on outings outside the hospital and have the opportunity to just be a kid. Miller Children’s will use the $10,000 award to expand the current “Support Our Siblings” Program to the full SuperSibs! Program, bringing comfort and care items such as journals and educational materials to siblings at Miller Children’s as well as fund field trips for siblings.
“We are thrilled and honored to be named as a Community Impact Project award recipient,” said Mitchell. “This award will go a long way and will allow us to continue to bring family-centered care to our cancer patients and their families. We want to give special thanks to everyone who voted in support of this program. Together, we’re making a difference in the lives of siblings of patients with cancer and serious blood disorders and their families.”

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