Six children being treated for cancer at Sheffield Children’s Hospital have joined forces to help create Shout Out!, a specialist magazine enabling children throughout the UK to share experiences and have their say about cancer and treatment.
CLIC Sargent is publishing Shout Out! in response to a recent consultation with 90 children aged 7-13 living with cancer. The research, entitled The Impact of Cancer on a Child’s World, explains the varied social and emotional impacts of cancer treatment, including children feeling isolated from friends and embarrassed to ask doctors complicated questions.
Shout Out! magazine, the first of its kind to be distributed in hospitals throughout the UK, features an ‘Ask the Expert’ section, where children can ask care professionals questions and access easy-to-read answers, interviews with celebrities talking about their childhood cancer experiences, a ‘Your Stories’ page where children can talk about how they felt when they were diagnosed, film and music reviews, puzzles and much more.
13-year-old Joseph was diagnosed with t-cell lymphoma in January 2008 and had two years of intensive chemotherapy, before relapsing and facing a second diagnosis of leukaemia. He is currently being treated at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and took part in interviews at the hospital to help create the first Shout Out!
Joseph said: “When you’re on the ward and there’s no one around, or you’re sitting at home bored because you’re not allowed to go out anywhere, you can feel really lonely. When you’re not feeling well, sometimes you don’t feel like talking to doctors. What’s great about Shout Out! is it makes you realise that there are other children going through the same experiences and you’re not alone.
“The magazine’s got so many bright pictures and I loved the film reviews, written by children. I wrote an article about the fantasy book I’ve written and it’s nice to know that other children can see that you can still do normal things even if you’re in hospital.”
Shout Out! was developed as part of CLIC Sargent’s participation programme, which helps young cancer patients and survivors aged 7-24 to have their say about their cancer, treatment and experiences.
Alisha Newman, Participation Manager at CLIC Sargent, said: “In our experience of working closely with children with cancer and family members, we know that it can be hard for younger children to express themselves and share experiences when they’re being treated for cancer. They often feel very isolated especially if they can’t go to school, or do the things they used to do like play football at the weekend or go swimming with friends.”
“We wanted to create Shout Out! to help children to share their views and experiences and to help reduce those feelings of isolation. We really hope that they find the magazine interesting and informative and we can’t wait to speak to more children for the Autumn issue!”
Over 1,000 copies of the quarterly magazine have been distributed to children in hospitals and homes across the UK.