You are not your illness. You will still shine as brightly as before your diagnosis. You are still the same amazing person.
Let Chemo Duck help you through your treatment. You can choose whether your duck is a he or a she and give them a name!
If you’re worried about something the nurse or doctor needs to do, ask them to do it on your Chemo Duck first. And don’t forget to wear your matching bandanas!
You don’t need us to tell you that parents and families have an invaluable role to play in a child’s cancer treatment. You will be the main source of support and comfort that your child turns to. Chemo Duck can be on your team, helping you make cancer treatment less confusing and frightening for your child.
You will of course be supported by the team at the hospital, including the play leaders, nurses and doctors. They will probably be familiar with Chemo Duck and used to integrating him into their interactions with children.
Children will naturally use Chemo Duck to role-play their fears and anxieties about treatment, and Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program, the education resources which come along with Chemo Duck, will give you the skills to help encourage and support this.
We’ve found that using a toy medical kit, along with actual medical equipment such as ports and tubes that the hospital can give you, helps Chemo Duck be most effective.
Children can familiarise themselves with Chemo Duck’s equipment without the worry of germs, you can talk through different procedures that are part of treatment and Chemo Duck can even go first at having his temperature or blood pressure taken, which helps your child exert some control over a situation they otherwise have very little control over.
Chemo Duck will be a source of comfort in the way any soft toy would be, but has the added advantage of helping things seem a bit less scary through role play.
Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program has a parent-to-parent guide developed using the experiences of lots of families. While you might feel overwhelmed now, when you’re ready there is a wealth of really useful information on their website.
We give every child receiving treatment a Chemo Duck and encourage them to name it and use it as part of their treatment.
Chemo Ducks are dressed in blue scrubs, just like some of the medical staff your child will come across, and come with either a Hickman Line (also called a central line) or a Portacath so families and medical professionals can talk with the child about what will happen and the importance of keeping the line clean and not playing with it.
All Chemo Ducks also have a cover on their arm which holds the IV line in place and have deep belly buttons where a feeding tube goes, so the ducks have a lot of the things your child will have as part of their treatment.
We encourage families to customise their ducks, and each comes with a bandana for the duck and a matching one for the child, along with an information book, Meet Chemo Duck, a mini pencil case with coloured pencils and sharpener, plus an activity book for your child, I’m Still Me.
Huggable Hope is our sibling duck, available for brothers and sisters of those having treatment to help them also feel involved he or she is just as cuddly and acts as reassurance for the sibling too.
Ask your hospital about the Give A Duck scheme and get in touch with us if it isn’t already offered. We’ll send you a duck directly, but would love it if you could mention the scheme to the Play Team or your nurse so we can offer our support to more families.