Dear Savvy Auntie,

It's definitely a new world. We recently received our first Tweet to Dear Savvy Auntie:

@SavvyAuntie: A Savvy Auntie friend of mine has a friend with a new cancer diagnosis and adolescent twins. Any suggestions on how she can help?

Concerned Friend

Dear Concerned Friend,

Aunties can and do help even and especially in times of health crises.

Adolescents are old enough to be informed about the diagnosis and the treatment plan, in general terms. They should be encouraged to ask questions and express their feelings. These may range from sadness to fear to anger…all are acceptable.

They should be included in any support system that is developing and offered appropriate tasks that are helpful. These can range from household chores, shopping needs, and hand-holding to better self management of their own responsibilities.

Without knowing the specific ages and the exact type and severity of the cancer, it is difficult for me to offer specifics. It is an opportunity for the family to grow closer. Your Auntie friend could set up a plan to spend time with the teens that becomes a pleasant ritual. A movie night, bagels on Sunday, and cooking together are all warm possibilities. There may be a group for teens in the hospital that will be comforting and supportive; your friend could do some research (Cancer Care is a good possibility) to find the right resource.

You are a dear friend to reach out on your friend’s behalf and I hope that it all works out...

Natalie Robinson Garfield

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