Battling cancer can be overwhelming, but it can be even harder for young kids with cancer.
But the children and teens at the Aflac Cancer Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have a not-so-secret trick to get through the toughest moments: It’s called guided imagery, and it’s a technique used to help calm people in stressful times.
The staff often asks the kids to imagine their “happy places” as a way to give them a morale boost and a pleasant distraction when they get scared during their cancer treatments or don’t understand what’s happening to them and why.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the staff at CHOA’s Aflac Cancer Center wanted to do something special for their patients.
So they brought in an animator to help bring their young patients’ happy places to life.
2. 11-year-old Mya escapes to the sunny beaches of Rio.
Mya was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, earlier this year. She underwent chemotherapy, but eventually lost the lower part of her left leg when it was amputated. She fights on with the help of her happy place.
3. 13-year-old Hunter’s land of magic is a welcome break from his everyday stress.
Diagnosed with brain cancer last year, Hunter’s gone through much more than most other boys his age. He’s endured rounds of chemotherapy, surgeries, and radiation; but he’s still here, being as brave as can be. His happy place is like nothing you’d see anywhere on earth.
4. Justice’s Italian castle keeps the 16-year-old in the game.
In 2013, Justice was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It wasn’t fair, and she knew it. Knowing that makes her afraid and angry, but her happy place brings some joy back into her life.
Seeing their happy places brought to life was met with exactly the reaction CHOA hoped: joy.
Just look how happy Justice was to see her happy place brought to life:
There are few things as powerful as the imagination of a child. And to see that energy put to use by bringing these young patients happiness in the midst of such hardship is truly heartwarming.