Last week I was invited to White Friars primary school as a guest speaker at their ‘Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea’ gathering. One of my readers Kirrilly was organising the morning tea and messaged me asking if I’d like to speak, we met for a cuppa and of course I said ‘yes’. I was there to give families tips on helping loved ones through cancer, and of course have a cuppa and some delicious home made treats.
Talking about cancer isn’t always easy, for some it’s paralysing. Where do you start? I mean, how long is a piece of string?
I decided to keep it relevant to those who were attending, parents of primary school aged children. I made 5 dot point notes on my phone, popped on a frock and headed off to do my thing.
Public speaking can be disarming and knowing what to wear is important because when you feel comfortable and confident then you can just focus on the job at hand and not feel distracted by an ill fitting or inappropriate outfit.
I chose a soft colour palette in winter white, soft pinks with a dash of green and some black to ground it all and pull the whole outfit together.
The colours were chosen carefully, I didn’t want to look aggressive or too assertive, instead I wanted people to listen but also feel nurtured.
The palette I chose was calming, nurturing, thoughtful, intimate and the touch of gold added a sprinkling of optimism and sophistication.
Pale pink is one of my all time favourite colours, if you’ve ever wondered what to put it next to here’s some ides for you…
I felt totally comfortable in my own skin and I knew my outfit would work as it was in some of my best colours. This allowed me to get up and confidently chat to the group who had gathered.
The day was about raising money, community, support and information…oh and some seriously great home baked goodies.
So what did I talk about? Well I offered insight into how a diagnosis affects a family with primary school aged children. I also offered a few tips, here’s some of them…
1. Start a school mums meal roster for the family with one designated person liaising with the family affected by cancer.
2. Offer to help with sporting and after school commitments. Drop offs, pick ups, getting uniforms or footy boots for a new sporting season…even small things like helping out with the oranges if it’s that families turn.
3. Offer to help shop for and wrap gifts for special celebrations like birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Mothers Day and Father’s Day.
4. Offer to help write out Christmas cards, party invites or even put up the Christmas tree.
5. Offer to help out with homework, school projects, sports day and excursions.
6. Keep the school informed so they can nurture the children affected.
7. Offer to have children for play dates or sleepovers especially a couple of days after an infusion (when things get tough). Inclusion is so important and keeping things as ‘normal’ as possible when life at home is topsy turvy is vital.
8. Pitch in some dollars with other mums for a house cleaner or gardener.
9. Don’t pretend that cancer isn’t happening but do be careful of little ears listening when discussing cancer.
10. Never ignore someone going through cancer…ever…even years after a diagnosis. Step up and ask how they are doing or where they are at with their treatment.
Talking about cancer is easy for me, sure sometimes I tear up and have a little cry but I lived it (still live it), so it comes naturally to me. If I can offer support and insight then I’m a happy camper.
I felt so fortunate to be invited to speak, the school was friendly and warm and you could really feel their community spirit. I’m pretty sure my words resonated and I hope that everyone there is now more informed to be able to help those in need.
No one wants cancer, but with one in two Aussies receiving a cancer diagnosis by the age of eighty-five then chances are you will know someone in your community that could do with some caring community spirit.
Huge thanks to Kirrilly for inviting me along. Do you know a family dealing with cancer? Have you got any questions for me?
Til next time,
Find out more about Cancer Council ‘Biggest Morning Tea’ HERE.