25 May Don’t blame the stars
Čika Boca is an association of parents, guardians, children and friends of children with malignant diseases, whose formation was initiated by a group of parents whose children were being treated for certain kinds of cancers. The association was registered in 2011 with the aim of providing assistance to parents of children who are treated for cancer, because the empowerment of parents indirectly helps the children who are going through the therapeutic process. Over the next few years of its existence, association developed support programs for children and young people treated for cancer. The programs were developed in parallel with the development of informal group of survivors called MladiCe whose members are involved in most of the program activities of the association in the role of peer educators.
“There is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit. There’s no prosthetic for that.”
(Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman”)
Why we will always be motivated to work with children and Mladice, read in the article “Do not blame the stars” by Milica Simonovic.
Do not blame the stars
The fight against cancer usually completely reverses the affected person’s life. When you’re just a kid, you have no idea what is happening around you, your family takes care of you, but when you’re a teenager you take it much harder. You’re going through puberty, your personality is slowly formed, you’re trying to find yourself, your body is changing, you’re falling in love, you’re experiencing frequent mood swings, your parents are a nuisance and the like, and on top of all that you get cancer. Now what?
Going to school, to see your friends, your freedom of movement have to be replaced with the hospital routine, therapies, daily pricking, nausea, etc.. Suddenly you see your peers doing everything that you can not and that sometimes causes self-withdrawal. Your hair is falling out and that annoys you, you start thinking about how you look and about reaction of the people around you. Teenagers are difficult as it is, and when they feel threatened, they are generally unbearable. You just want to be left alone, to put your headphones on and isolate yourself, but the doctors and your family are constantly pestering you, telling you what to do, asking you pointless questions. Your friends are there, but they are not sure how to behave. As time goes by, you get to know more and more about your disease while they remain at the same level of knowledge about it. Which is completely normal. What adolescent is even thinking about diseases during the period when there are so many opportunities for them and when they are practically only starting their life? The only thing that is required of you as my friend (boy, girl) is support, you do not even have to understand what is now happening to me. If you don’t know what to say, then don’t even talk, be silent with me and i’m already better. The worst thing a teenager suffering from cancer, and I believe any other disease, can be offered is pity. People normally do not like being pitied. During and after my treatment I met different people who had different reactions and sometimes it seemed that they only see my disease in me and that I do not have hair, as if I’m no longer seen as a separate person, as though i’m not a person at all but this terrible cancer. If I had not gone through all of this, I’d probably be the same, but I thought about where all these prejudices and attitudes of malignancy come from. I then watched a few movies and read several books in which the main characters are suffering from cancer and noted that in every book and every film someone dies from it. It may be that this is one of the reasons for prejudices. Teenagers probably unconsciously compared us with the figure in the film who died, they only see your diagnosis painted on you and the worst possible outcome, and there’s pity. What annoys me is that people in movies fight against the backdrop of other diseases, fight the most difficult situations, but they always die of cancer.. It is true that this is a dangerous disease, but here we are, a crowd of young people standing in front of you, healed. If you want to know something about the condition of the person standing across from you, ask and you will get the response. Don’t create a false image in your mind, do not accumulate thoughts and questions that you can not ask, instead open up and feel free to ask a question. When a healed person comes back into your environment, behave normally and once again I emphasize, do not pity her. If with him / her you were not on good terms even before his illness, or you thought they were annoying you are not not obliged to be nice to him or in any way change your behavior. Just be fair and put yourself in his situation. Do not ever make fun of that person. It’s ugly and mean. Think what would bother you if you were in his place and chill out. Nothing more than that.
Mladice are young people between 0 and 28 years who are currently using medical treatment, recovering or are completely healed from some form of malignancy (cancer). Mladice is a word created of words “young” in Serbian language (Mladi) and the letter C, which is the medical code list designation for cancer.
What Čika Boca does you can see here
Programs and Projects of Association Čika Boca are designed to suit the needs of children and adolescents treated for cancer in all stages of their psychosocial rehabilitation. So, according to their age, current needs, and the physical and mental state of children and young people treated for cancer they may go through several different programs.
Life is a miracle by itself, life is an inspiration. We are not aware of the beauty of life, until we face difficult moments, especially when it comes to children and disease. Having a child is a choice. Cancer is nobody’s choice. It occurs unprovoked and does not chose whom or where.
This story is a part of the aspirations of the TACSO Serbia and TACSO by Civic Initiatives to promote good practices of civil society organizations in Serbia and motivate other organizations that invest on daily basis their energy and efforts in creating a better society for all citizens of Serbia.