Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | March 8, 2019

KidsCan! Expands to Duke Raleigh Hospital

When Duke Raleigh Hospital President Dr. David Zaas was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia two years ago, he remembers his concern about how to tell his children about the diagnosis.

“Like many physicians, I thought I was invincible; I would never get sick,” said Zaas. “When I found out I had Acute Myeloid Leukemia, I remember being scared most about how I was going to tell my 11-year-old and my 13-year-old that dad has cancer.”

Dr. Zaas and his family found help through KidsCan!, a program that was established in 2007 at the Duke Cancer Center Durham to aid parents with cancer and their children.

“I cannot express enough the importance of caring for the whole patient, which includes their family, when working through treatment for a cancer diagnosis,” said Zaas. “This program was an instrumental part of recovery for my family during my own battle with leukemia.”

This month, the program will be offered at Duke Raleigh Hospital for the first time on March 21.

Designed for children ages 4-18 years of age, the two-hour program brings families together monthly over a meal. After the meal, children engage in small-group activities to better understand the disease and talk with other kids who have a family member with cancer while parents meet to discuss the impact of cancer on their families.

“KidsCan! is special because it brings families together during a difficult time so they can grow and thrive regardless of the challenges they are facing,” said Hannah Sasser, child life specialist for KidsCan! Raleigh. “Children and teens have an opportunity to express their feelings and know that they are not alone and that Duke Raleigh is a special community of caring people focused on creating a safe and warm environment for the families we support.”

The program is offered by the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program and funded in part by the Holt Brothers Foundation, which was established to provide education and support to families affected by cancer.

“I am proud to have our partners, the Holt Brothers Foundation, match the funds raised at Midtown Raleigh Alliance’s Pumpkin Palooza to support the important work of the Duke KidsCan! Program,” Zaas said. “A personal thanks to Torry, Terrence, and Mary-Ann Baldwin for supporting my family and our Duke Raleigh patients with this program!”













–By Erin McKenzie

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