Ipswich: Brave youngster’s guide through a parent’s cancer treatment

Schoolgirl Sinead Jacobs is an inspiration to children everywhere who have parents with cancer, pict

Schoolgirl Sinead Jacobs is an inspiration to children everywhere who have parents with cancer, pictured with Hilary Wilson

An inspirational schoolgirl has drawn on her experiences of facing her mum’s battle with cancer in a bid to help other youngsters deal with their parents’ treatment.

Sinead with her booklet Understanding Cancer

Sinead with her booklet Understanding Cancer

Sinead Jacobs has written and illustrated a booklet to help guide young people through the traumatic journey.

The eight-year-old’s mum Carol is undergoing treatment at Ipswich Hospital for breast cancer.

While she was once frightened and unable to talk openly about it, Sinead has shown confidence beyond her years in bravely facing her mum’s illness.

As part of the family’s care, Sinead has been spending time with Hilary Wilson, the hospital’s Macmillan family support worker.


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Hilary works with 12 children, who are from families affected by cancer, each week.

Sinead, who has also been supported by teachers at her school in Wickham Market, said: “Hilary is kind, loving and has time to spend with me, whether just listening or answering my questions.

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“Other people may be lucky like me and have help to get through their difficult time with an awesome person like Hilary.”

Hilary said reading Sinead’s book for the first time nearly reduced her to tears.

“Working with Sinead has been an absolute pleasure,” she said. “Her book is marvellous and very nearly made me cry the first time I saw it.

“We were talking one day about what we could do to mark our 18 months of work together and Sinead chose to do a booklet. By the time we next met, she’d finished it.”

The booklet ‘Understanding Cancer’ starts: “I’m writing this because I don’t want anyone to go through what I had to as it’s nasty and really sad.”

It includes tips and coping strategies taught by Hilary to help young people stay on top of their feelings.

Carole, who also has two teenage daughters, said: “I’ve been really proud of the way Sinead has handled things. Hilary really helped her by teaching her how to talk about her feelings.”

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