When Omahan Traci Olds was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, she remembered what it was like to lose her dad when she was only 19. She thought of her young son, Kaleb.
"Right away, I wanted him in some kind of support group," she said. "From my own experience I knew he would need assistance."
The Alegent Creighton Health "Just for Kids" support group was just what they needed. Kids aged five to 12 meet twice a month to talk about their feelings. The group also helps them better understand what a parent or someone else important in their lives is going through after a cancer diagnosis. "It's important for them to know it's not a death sentence," Olds said.
"I was thinking kind of positive," said Kaleb—who's 9 now. "I told my mom, ‘OK, we're going to get through this. It'll be all right.'" Olds said the group setting offered an important outlet. "They get to forget," she said. "But they still express their feelings. Kids at school don't understand. But these kids are all going through the same thing." She smiled as she remembered Kaleb comforting a young girl who was afraid because her mother was going to lose her hair.
He'd already gone through it with his mom.
Kaleb started going to Just for Kids in November 2012, when Olds was first diagnosed. He kept going throughout her lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. When doctors discovered cancer a second time and she had a double mastectomy, he kept going. "He was there with me. He helped me through it," Olds said.
At the group meetings, Kaleb liked doing art the best. "I thought it was kind of cool," Caleb said. To show their support of their loved one who's battling cancer, each member created a work of art and donated it to the Cancer Center.
The Just for Kids art works are being featured in an exhibit Feb.18th at Alegent Creighton Health Immanuel Cancer Center. It will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Immanuel Four Seasons room. Dessert and drinks will be provided.
"I'm excited," Kaleb said. "I'm hoping everybody like all the kids' art."