While children with cancer are resilient, the procedures, emotions and changes to day-to-day life that come with illness can be overwhelming. To help children cope, psychologists at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia developed a special tool: the Cellie Cancer Coping Kit.
The Coping Kit includes a stuffed toy named Cellie, cancer coping cards, and a book for caregivers. Cellie’s zippered mouth hides the deck of coping cards where children will find over 100 tips for dealing with numerous cancer-related stressors, such as medical procedures, hospital visits and feelings of fear and uncertainty.
How to use the Cellie Cancer Coping Kit
The Cellie Cancer Coping Kit can be used at home, in the clinic and/or in the hospital. For example, if you or your child are worried about staying at the hospital overnight you can use Cellie to get prepared. Search the deck for cards with ideas for making hospital stays easier, zip them into Cellie’s mouth, and take them along with you. Look in the caregiver book to help your child put the coping techniques to work.
In addition to tips for helping your child with cancer cope, the caregiver book also offers advice for dealing with parents’ own cancer-related challenges: caring for siblings, working with the medical team and more.
The Cellie Cancer Coping Kit is designed for ages 6-12. It can be used by:
- the child on his own
- with parents or other trusted adults
- with the child’s medical team
- with a child life specialist or therapist.
If you are caring for a child being treated at the CHOP Cancer Center and would like to request a Coping Kit please contact us online.
Cellie was born at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. While working with her patients, clinical psychologist and behavioral researcher Meghan Marsac, PhD, was inspired to create a tool to help children learn and use coping skills. Artist Anne Vinsel brought Cellie to life, making the first toy from a pair of wool socks.
Marsac and Vinsel worked with a team of researchers and psychologists in the CHOP Cancer Center to transform a huggable toy and coping tips into a research-based kit that has been found helpful by families of children with cancer in dealing with their unique, day-to-day challenges.
Thank you to the Coach Wags Foundation for ongoing support of the Cellie Cancer Coping Kit.