kidsSTRONG Bill of Rights

People with cancer and their families have the same right to be treated with respect, as unique individuals. Sometimes, in the bustle of treatment and care, these rights can be forgotten or pushed aside. The following “Bill of Rights” for people with cancer and family members has been adapted from the American Childhood Cancer Organization’s Youth Newsletter.

Bill of Rights for Children with Cancer:

  • I have the right to be told the truth about my disease in words I can understand.
  • It is not my fault that I have cancer.
  • I have the right to feel bad if I receive bad news.
  • I have the right to live life on my own terms, seek other treatment options, have fun and be a kid.
  • I have the right to ask questions and ask for help when I need it.
  • I have the right to talk to my doctor and my family about my cancer. And I have the right to not talk about it if I choose.
  • The fact that I am sick does not give others the right to make decisions for me.
  • I have the right to be treated as a person and not merely as a ‘patient'.
  • I have the right to think of other things besides my cancer. I do not have to allow cancer to control every detail of my life.
  • I always have the right to hope, whether for a full cure, a longer life, or a happier life here and now.
  • It is okay to sometimes be angry around people I love. My anger does not mean I have stopped loving them.
  • I have the right to receive effective pain relief.
  • I have the right to cope with my cancer in my own way, and my family has the right to cope with it in theirs. Our ways may be different, but that is okay.

Bill of Rights for Family Members:

  • I have the right to enjoy my own good health without feeling guilty.
  • It is not my fault that someone I love has cancer.
  • I have the right to get outside help for the person with cancer if I cannot manage all the responsibilities of home care myself.
  • I also have the right to get help for myself, even if others in my family choose not to get help.
  • I have the right to choose who I will talk to about the cancer. If other people feel hurt because I do not want to answer all their questions, it is not my fault.
  • Even if I am a child, I have a right to know what is going on in the family.
  • I have a right to be told the truth about the cancer in words I can understand.
  • I do not always have to agree with someone just because he or she has cancer.
  • Sometimes I might feel angry around the person with cancer. Sickness does not stop someone from being a real person.
  • I have the right to feel what I feel now, not what someone else says I ‘should' feel.
  • I have the right to look after my own needs, even if they do not seem as great as those of the person with cancer.
  • I have the right to take “time out” from the person with cancer without feeling disloyal.

kidsSTRONG is a social venture firm working to improve the childhood cancer experience by empowering cancer survivors, children’s heath entrepreneurs and healthcare professionals to create credible health, business and operations models for advancing family centered care and accelerating systems change.