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The Trish Greene Back to School Program

About 3,800 children under the age of 15 are diagnosed with leukemia each year. The Trish Greene* Back to School Program for Children with Cancer brings free information and materials to parents and educators from the local chapters of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). The program was developed to encourage communication among parents, young patients, healthcare professionals and school personnel to assure youngsters a smooth transition from active treatment to back to school.

Informative publications, DVDs, videos and programs help explain to classmates and teachers how kids with cancer feel, why they may look different, what type of treatment they've undergone and special needs they may have on their return. All materials are available through all LLS's local chapters.

Cancer survival rates for children have improved significantly during the past several decades. Still, not knowing what the future holds is difficult for families dealing with childhood cancer. Children with cancer may face long periods of treatment, but most return to school and complete their educations. The transition may go quite well overall, but there are likely to be stressful times.

The Trish Greene Back to School Program for Children with Cancer provides free resources for dealing with the transition, such as:

  • Staying Connected: Facilitating the Learning Experience During and After Cancer Treatment. This education program for school personnel and parents discusses possible emotional, physical, cognitive and late effects of cancer treatment in children and offers numerous resources that can assist childhood cancer survivors to flourish in the school environment post-treatment. Contact your local LLS chapter for schedule information.
  • Coping with Childhood Leukemia and Lymphoma. This booklet offers practical suggestions for integrating a child back into normal family and school routines and offers insights for parents, families and professionals about the child's initial diagnosis, treatment and survivorship (available in Spanish).
  • Learning & Living with Cancer. This booklet discusses how to advocate for your child's educational needs. It discusses the learning challenges your child may face during and after cancer treatment, laws that protect the educational needs of children with cancer and specific ways that schools can help meet a child's educational needs (available in Spanish).
  • Pictures of My Journey. This coloring and activity book helps children ages 3 to 11 cope with the new people, situations and concerns that are part of the childhood cancer experience.
  • The Stem Cell Transplant Coloring Book. This coloring and activity book is for children coping with having a stem cell transplant and for his or her siblings and classmates, as well as for children with a parent undergoing a transplant.
  • Why Charlie Brown, Why? This DVD (also available in VHS format) tells the tale of a classmate who develops leukemia. Using Charles Schulz's lovable Peanuts characters, the video helps children understand what leukemia is, how it's treated and how a child recovering from leukemia feels. When a classmate teases the girl because she has no hair, her friends rally around her and help the other children understand why his remarks were inappropriate. Produced by Charles Schultz and United Media (available in Spanish).

For more information about The Trish Greene program, contact your local LLS chapter.

*Before her death from cancer in 1999, Trish Greene, Ph.D., was senior vice president of Patient Services at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She was devoted to patient services for cancer patients and created the Back-to-School program. Her devotion to patients and their families will never be forgotten.


last updated on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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