Skip to main content

COVID-19 Advisory: Visitor restrictions are in place for all Phoenix Children’s locations. Masks are required for all visitors and for patients ages 2+. For more information, visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.

Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

August 24, 2021
Healing Cancer: It Takes a Village…or Zoom
Healing Cancer: It Takes a Village…or Zoom

Even before the COVID pandemic hit our patients at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD), patients have been looking for ways to connect with each other while also maintaining their distance.  Patients who are going through treatment for cancer or a blood disorder want to know they are not alone. Social isolation is a common issue and can have a big impact on their physical health and mental health.  Patients can be admitted to the hospital and even come to our outpatient clinic numerous times without seeing other patients their age. At times, there would only be a wall that would be separating them. 

That’s why we came up with TLC (Teaching, Learning & Connecting). TLC meetings are held weekly on Zoom for our CCBD patients aged 13-24. The TLC group is made up of patients who are newly diagnosed and some whom have been off therapy for years and are a part of our survivor clinic.

TLC addresses a wide range of topics including:

  • Adjusting to treatment
  • Changes in relationships
  • Coping skills
  • Survivorship

Sometimes we just talk about the latest video games. Even though our Phoenix Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders staff moderate the group, patients are the ones who really support one another. We have had patients log on while they were hospitalized, in the emergency room, on their way home from school - even patients who live hours from the hospital!

Safe place

TLC provides a safe place for our adolescents and young adults to share their experiences. Many of our patients may be the only kid at their school going through cancer treatment and end up being labeled “the cancer kid.”  In TLC, they’re not seen as different. In fact, they all have a common bond of being a patient. They all can relate with being poked, getting ports and having numerous procedures - not to mention all the side effects they experience while on treatment. One of the kids described it as being a military veteran - they all have a high level of respect for each other even though they fought different battles. The same goes for these kids - they have all fought different diseases and had different setbacks, but they all fight, and they fight to win.

We hope to continue the TLC program so our patients can share their experiences with one another, learn new skills and form lifelong support and friendships.

For more information regarding our TLC program, please reach out to:

Caley Nelson, LMSW, OSW-C at cnelson1@phoenixchildrens.com, or Melissa Meckenstock, CLS, at  mmeckenstock@phoenixchildrens.com.

Share this page