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To Sam

cancer

my friend's mum has cancer and shes getting worse my friend is always down about it and I don't what to do to cheer her up xxxx
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Sam

Hi there,

Thank you for your letter. It sounds like you really care about your friend and her feelings. You have said that her mum’s cancer is getting worse and that she is getting down and you don’t know what to do to cheer her up.

I imagine that it is very hard for you to see your friend this way. It is natural to want to cheer someone up when they are down, and it is hard to know what the best thing is to do in situations like this.

Sadly, you can’t make your friend’s mum better, but you can be there for her, just as you are, and that is just as important and supportive. Perhaps you can tell your friend how you feel, for example you could say something like, “I can see that things are hard for you right now, and I don’t know what the best thing is to do, but I want you to know that I am here for you”.

It can help to think about the sorts of things she enjoys doing and maybe suggesting you do something she likes with her, but if she doesn’t feel like it, then it is OK. Her emotions and moods may be up and down, but remember this is natural. The most important thing is that your friend will see that you are there for her.

Riprap is a great website for children whose parents' have cancer. It has lots of young people’s stories on it, a forum for people to share their experiences, as well as advice and information about cancer. You might find it useful to read it yourself, or it might be something you want to suggest that your friend has a look at. Perhaps you could ask if she’d like the two of you to read it together?

You could also let your friend know about ChildLine, so that she knows that she has help and support whenever she needs it. It’s also important that you have someone to talk to and support you. Being there for a friend who is having a difficult time can be tiring and emotional and you have to look after your own needs to. Is there a parent or another adult you trust who could help you talk about how you feel?

Remember, you are always welcome to contact ChildLine too by calling 0800 1111 or logging on for an online 1-2-1 chat. ChildLine is free and confidential.

You are a good friend and you are doing so well already.

Take care,

Sam

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