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Tag Archives: sue mckechnie

Your Child Has Cancer: Become their Advocate

Parent Advocateby Sue McKechnie, CKN Co-Editor, Childhood Cancer Awareness & Advocacy


During Shawn’s recovery period, his care team suggested we take part in a live-in therapy program that would give him daily physical, occupational, speech and play therapy. It had been 6 months since his diagnosis with an ependymoma tumour, subsequent surgery and radiation but Shawn still lagged behind as far as the anticipated recovery. He had only a few words and didn’t seem too interested in learning to walk again.

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Creating a Circle of Hope for Childhood Brain Cancer

Shawns Teamby Sue McKechnie, CKN Advisory Board Member, Childhood Cancer Awareness & Advocacy

It was a week after our son, Shawn, had been diagnosed with a brain tumour. He had undergone invasive surgery at SickKids Hospital and was still unresponsive in intensive care.  It was Mother’s Day weekend and I sat trying to eat lunch, very much in a daze over what had transpired in our lives over the last few weeks. A month earlier, I had no idea that children could have brain tumours and now I understood all too well how quickly a family’s life could change.


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What You Need to Know About Bereaved Parents

bereavedparentsby Sue McKechnie, CKN Advisory Board Member, Childhood Cancer Awareness & Advocacy


If you’re a bereaved parent you know what a distinctive group we are and although we came to this place kicking and screaming, we are here.  In each other we know that we are not alone and can rely on those that have lived the same experience to understand the trials and tribulations of every day life. But because we are such a distinct group, it can be very hard to receive support from those around us who, despite all the care and love they provide, do not quite get what it’s like to be behind a pane of glass while the world goes on around you.  Of course, we do not wish that we had more members to empathize, to lean on, to nod their head in deep understanding but we do sometimes want those caregivers around us to understand some of the things that mean so much.

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The Replacement Child Theory

Jayme and her little brother Alex

Jayme and her little brother Alex

by Sue McKechnie, Caregiver

Not even one year after we lost our son, Shawn to a brain tumour, I began thinking about having another child. I told myself that our six year old daughter needed a sibling as I didn’t want her growing up as an only child. I wasn’t naïve to my own needs that were sending my thoughts down this path; I missed small arms wrapped around my neck and that soft whispering voice of a young child.  I also missed having someone who needed me, someone to take up the idle time I now had.

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Top 5 Tips for Effectively Parenting the Sibling of a Child with Cancer

SueMcKechnieby Sue McKechnie, Caregiver

Childhood cancer affects the whole family, not just the child diagnosed. Unintentionally, the needs and feelings of siblings often get pushed aside due to the immediate requirements of the sick child. When our son, Shawn, was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the young age of 16 months, we hardly knew how to parent him, in what was now the whirlwind of our lives, let alone his healthy 4 year old sister, Jayme.  Over the 18 months that followed, my husband and I took turns navigating surgeries, treatments and therapy while the other tried to retain a sense of normalcy for our daughter.  Mistakes were made absolutely, but we learned from them and it’s from this insight that I would like to share some of those lessons.

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