Howard Family Dental recently pledged $150,000 to ensure that children of sick patients at St. Joseph’s/Candler get the help and support they need during times of distress.
The new Howard Hand In Hand Support Program for Children at St. Joseph’s/Candler will provide support, education and guidance to children and teens with family members facing life-threatening diseases. The donation will expand and help fine-tune a program that began at St. Joseph’s/Candler in 2013.
This free program will help children cope with and process their thoughts and feelings — often fear, sadness, anger and confusion — about how life has changed for them and their families because of illness or disease.
“I believe that Howard Hand in Hand will help meet the emotional and spiritual needs of many children and families facing extraordinary challenges,” said Dr. John Howard, founder of Howard Family Dental, which has a location in Hinesville at 319 H Gen. Screven Way. “This program will provide the support children will need in, perhaps, the most challenging times of their entire life. Together, we can all give life-changing support, encouragement and hope.”
When a family member gets cancer or another serious or long-term illness, it’s not just the patient who feels the effects. It can be especially problematic for children. Because every situation is different, the specially trained, licensed professionals at St. Joseph’s/Candler can devise just the right plan to ensure that children have all their questions answered and get the support they need.
“Our mission is to provide the most advanced treatments and clinical trials to patients of our community so they can stay home with their families and not have to travel to receive the best in cancer care,” said Nancy Johnson, the executive director of the Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion. “Providing support to the children frees the parents dealing with their cancer to focus their energies on fighting this disease. The Howard Hand in Hand program helps to heal the whole family.”
The program includes one-on-one counseling and monthly support groups.
After losing his own mother to cancer as a child, Howard desired to support children in similar situations. Children of cancer patients can be unsure of what is happening within their families, why their family members are not feeling well or acting the same and who they can talk to for support.
Dr. Lindsay Sammons, the director of Howard Family Dental Foundation, knows firsthand how cancer can affect the entire family. She experienced her mother’s fight against breast cancer as a young girl. Fortunately, her mother is in remission.