Ask Sam letter


To Sam

My dad has been diagnosed with cancer and I don't know who to talk to

Hi Sam, my dad has just recently been diagnosed with cancer and it's been tough, I feel numb and although I want to cry I feel I can't. I would like to talk to my PE teacher about it she's really nice and would understand but I don't want to seem like I'm begging for sympathy please help
Ask Sam


Hi there,

When a parent is diagnosed with an illness it can be difficult to know how to cope or what to do next. It’s okay to need some support with this because it can be hard to cope alone. You might feel you don’t want to put pressure on someone who’s sick, but many parents who are ill still want to be involved in their children’s lives. They may really want to hear how their children are feeling. It's important that you can have this conversation.

It’s understandable that you’re going through a variety of emotions. Feeling numb and wanting to cry, but also feeling like you can’t. Crying is a natural response to your emotions, and sometimes crying can help let your feelings out. Crying can stop things building up too much. Crying is nothing to be ashamed or scared of. And it’s important for you to know that you don't have to deal with your emotions alone.

Perhaps you can think about what it’d be like to talk to your dad. You could share how both of you are feeling. Although things are difficult and changing, it can be helpful to look at realistic ways of having a normal family life as well.

It’s important to know that talking to your teacher isn’t begging for sympathy. Teachers are there to support you. They can help you with how you’re feeling as well as school work. It might help to think about when might be best to talk to her, and whether you'd find it easier to talk face to face or write her a letter about how difficult you're finding things at the moment.

Riprap is a great website for young people whose parents have cancer. It has lots of advice, information, and other young people sharing their experiences. You might find that there are people going through a similar experience to yours.

If you'd like to, you'd be very welcome to talk to a counsellor.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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