Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pink Month- Picture Books about Cancer

Yesterday I had the honour of attending a Breast Cancer Fundraising Luncheon. This is an annual event organised by my darling next door neighbour and her daughter, who spend countless hours campaigning, organising and baking for this special occasion. Each year, they are successful in raising thousands of dollars for the very valuable cause.

Afternoon Tea is an absolute delight.
It is so special to be at an event with a range of women from all walks of life.  Most of whom have experienced breast cancer personally or through a friend or relative. It is always lovely to catch up with women from the neighbourhood, and also with women who don’t live so close. For some of us, it is the one day in the year we actually catch up with one another.
Musical chairs: These were the gorgeous tables set up for our luncheon. Which seat would you take up?
 Since becoming a mother, attending this event has become even more meaningful to me. Having my daughter by my side has also become highly significant. You see, I have this regular thought (fear) which wrenches at my heart: the thought of getting ill and leaving my daughter without a mother. I’m sure this is not an uncommon thought for a mother.
I listen to stories of breast cancer, and I am reminded of how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away. So, I have made a personal pledge that each year my daughter and I attend this luncheon, we must celebrate another precious year together.

2010: Another year to treasure together.
I am not alone. I am not the only mother in the world. I was surrounded by mothers at the luncheon yesterday. Women, like me, who have children. None of us are immune to breast cancer. According to the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre, breast cancer and lung cancer are the two leading causes of cancer-related death in Australian women (Breast Cancer in Australia: an overview, 2009). When a mother dies of breast cancer she leaves behind a child. It is a fear for me, but it is a reality for so many Australian women.

I think there is absolutely nothing sadder or more unjust in life than a child losing his mother. I have taught many children who have lost their mothers to breast cancer, and they are amongst the bravest little big people I know. I have so much admiration for them. 

I can only hope that I am not faced with this particular challenge in life. I’m not sure how I would handle the situation if I ever am.  I have so much respect for mothers who fight the personal battle with cancer and who also find the strength to comfort and support their children at the same time. 

As we know, each family copes in their own way. Many families use books to help explain the situation to their children. There are also many women and children who find that writing their own stories becomes a way of coping. To recognise ‘Pink Month’, I thought I’d put together a list of picture books written to help families discuss cancer. 

Each of these 3 books has been written by Australian women and recently published. 

My Mum has Breast Cancer- A Family's Cancer Journey, by Lisa and Harrison Seward
This picture book, suitable for children (3+), was written by a cancer-survivor based on the journal she kept with her son. It has also been illustrated by her son. The book opens areas of discussion for families about cancer and all profits go to cancer organisations.

Can be purchased from the Breast Cancer Network

My Mum's got Cancer, by Dr. Lucy Blunt and Eloise Osborn
(Jane Curry Publishing)
This picture book, suitable for children (3+), has been written with honesty and humour. It was written by a clinical physcologist, mother and cancer-survivor. It has been illustrated by her daughter, age 11.

Can be purchased online from Booktopia

Always Jack, by Susanne Garvey and Cathy Wilcox (HarperCollins)
This is the third book in the junior fiction 'Jack' series. The book cleverly discusses the effect of cancer on families, as young Jack finds the courage to help him deal with  his mum's illness.

Read a full review at Bug in a Book.

Can be purchased online from SeekBooks


  1. What a lovely reminder and delightful tradition you are starting with your daughter. I worry all the time about leaving my children without a mother. I hope and pray that I am able to see them grow older. My heart goes out to those who suffer with this terrible disease. How wonderful that you are actively involved in helping and appreciating those who do. Naomi x

  2. What a beautiful and special day together for such a worthy cause.

  3. Oh ladies, your comments just started a new bout of tears for me. The fear is so real isn't it. It really is something to be scared of. Then I just feel so selfish, because I'm lucky to be here with my daughter when others aren't.

  4. i was listening to an interview on ABC radio today with the author of Always Jack. It is unimaginable going thru something like this and I hate to even think about it

  5. Isn't it wonderful that there are Women out there that organise events like this to support such a worthy causes . How lovely to be able to share this with your daughter.


  6. Marvelous and informative post! Thanks so much! One of my best friends wife died from breast cancer and it can be devastating.
    I am your newest Mother Heart Follower, hope you can stop by for a visit!

    Thanks, Becky Jane
    Raising kids can be a lot like weeding the rose bed...well worth it, but...OUCH!