Activities and therapies that connect us with a positive community of families who are going through the cancer journey and seeking to thrive against the odds. These include our online support groups with families of kids with similar diagnoses, hospital-based community events, classroom projects, anticancer cooking classes, and therapeutic camps.
Health science research shows that we are healthier, happier, less stressed, and can more easily make healthy changes in our lives if we are connected with friends. That’s cool, right? But we do even better if we connected to friends who are going through the same challenges we are. In research circles, this is called “peer support.”
Peer support works for childhood cancer parents because:
it can make us less stressed knowing that others have faced (or are facing) what we’re going through
it can make us happier because when we give support to others, we end up getting a mood boost from it!
it can help us to make healthy life changes when we see others who are a lot like us making these same changes.
In health sciences research, participants are “peer-matched” into groups, which means they are sorted by things like health problems, age, gender, and other personal characteristics. In these groups, they often share their progress and challenges and provide emotional and informational support along the way. Researchers have found that the more alike peers are, the more health changes they make and the happier they are.
There are a lot great researchers finding out more about the power of peers. Here are a few:
Nicholas Christakis, PhD and Jason Fowler, PhD, authors of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives.
The FIRST STEP
Get connected to other childhood cancer parents who care about food and wellness through our private Facebook groups: Fierce Families Support Group and Fierce Foodies Support Group.