Kids Konnected helped my son and I with the inexplicable pain of watching his sweet mother taken away from us by cancer.
Alex and Patty were together from morning until night. She took him to the Washington Monuments in Virginia when his history class studied World War II in middle school. Her play dates were notorious
The other moms huddled around the kitchen counter with Patty. The moms were louder than the kids and she knew how to make everyone feel special and important.
Everyone treated my son and I with kindness and we felt that we were not the only ones going through such an overwhelming time.
Kids Konnected is a place of comfort and understanding for many scared and vulnerable children.
We could not have made it without Kids Konnected. I am so grateful for how you have helped us.
I came across KidsKonnected in 2007 a couple of months before my husband lost his 5 year battle with multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer), he was 46. Our three kids were 4, 6 and 9. The support our family has received from this group has been invaluable: starting from the care package each child received when I first contacted KidsKonnected to the on-going support through the monthly meetings and the availability of the counselors, this organization is amazing.
It provides my children with a safe place to talk about the impact the disease and the loss of their father has on their lives with other children facing the same children under the guidance of caring counselors. If adults find comfort sharing with other adults (friends and families), too often we forget that children are not equipped to deal with those challenging times and as parents we don't always know how to help them. This unique organization fills that gap. My kids love going to the monthly group meetings as it helps them deal with this situation in a manner that makes them stronger, more confident and in a positive way.
In addition this is a huge help to me, I know that I can count on the help of the counselor when I have questions, when I see changes in behaviors in my children that might be related to what they are going through. Knowing that I have access to this professional help gives me peace of mind and re-assurance.
And finally not only it provides help for the kids but the parent meeting that take place in parallel with the kids group meeting is also of tremendous help. It is moderated by a trained psychologist as well and allows me to share my concerns, questions, experiences with other parents in a non threatening or intimidating environment. The support I receive and I am able to give to others is a great benefit from being part of KidsKonnected.
I learned about KK just two weeks after my son Rick, 36, lost his 5-yr battle with cancer. Rick was a single dad of my only grandchild, who was 7 when he was diagnosed and not quite 12 when he died. Kendra had gone thru cancer with him every step of the way, accompanying him to chemo, cheering him on, and in the end, helping me and the hospice staff care for him as he died in my home. Kendra was profoundly affected by his death, which came during her early adolescence. We eagerly attended our first meeting, and that very day Kendra announced she wanted to be a youth leader when she reached high school age. I knew we had found a way to navigate our tremendous sorrow, and adapt to our " new normal."
For years we attended, if at all possible, the support groups twice a month and eventually Kendra did become a youth leader and helped facilitate a satellite group near CHOC in Orange. She loved being a camp counselor and applying her experiences to helping the younger kids walking the same path. She truly did learn to turn her scars into stars, while she could have easily made all the wrong decisions.
Raising a young girl (with "issues", mom having left when she was 2) was a maze I wandered through, and honestly don't know how I would have done it without the wisdom, the love, and the support of Lynnette Wilhardt, Sarah Lorton, and so many others over the years. I constantly walked a tightrope, trying to determine (when we hit those really big bumps) just how much was grief, and how much was just "icky teenager." Parents in my position may tend to overcompensate and let the little darling "get away with" whatever. The guidance I got from the counselors was priceless. (And free!)
I was first concerned that it would be awkward, mixing the children of newly-diagnosed or patients in remission, and having them share stories with children who had lost a parent. I quickly saw that IT DIDN'T MATTER, because with the tremendous sensitivity and skill of the staff, the children just GOT IT. "It" being, " we don't know what will happen to dad/mom, he/she may get well, may get sick again, may get well again, or may even die ... but whatever comes, I WILL BE OK." While Kendra attended her support groups through the years, I soaked up the compassion, the advice, and the encouragement of the parents' group, lead by Ken Rhea. I cannot say enough about this fabulous organization. I continue to spread the word to those who have a child affected by the cancer of a parent. I've seen families transformed by their association with Kids Konnected. This review cannot truly express my appreciation and admiration for all we have received from this organization. Endless thanks,
Jeri Livingstone - Garden Grove, CA (714) 5391429