Program Partnership with Hot for Hope – Support Group for Kids Whose Parent Has Cancer

child support group

Lacuna Loft is excited to announce that we are partnering with Hot for Hope to bring a support group to the kiddos of our young adult cancer survivors.  If you are a young adult cancer survivor and you have a child between the ages of 8 and 17, they can attend an online support group with other kids who understand what they are going through!  The groups will be moderated by a registered nurse, Jenny Yessaian.

These support groups will happen monthly, with the first one starting on Thursday, October 12th.  If your child is between the ages of 8 and 12, they can attend the online support group from 5-5:30 pm PT / 7-7:30 pm CT and if your child is between the ages of 13 and 17, they can attend the online support group from 5:30-6 pm PT / 7:30-8 pm CT.  Each support group will take part via video chat and Lacuna Loft will email you with details before the group starts.

These groups help to support the social and emotional development of children coping with a parent with cancer. Each group will meet on a monthly basis for 30 minutes in length.

Doorways to Arkomo Review & Giveaway!

When Jacqueline Dooley contacted Lacuna Loft about her new book, Doorways to Arkomo, I was really excited to read it.  Once I read it, I was really excited to share it with my favorite 13 year old, Sebastian, who is dealing with cancer himself.  The book is about two, 11 year old girls, one from our world who is also battling cancer and one from a fantasy world called Arkomo.  All proceeds from the first year of sales will be donated to different charities and organizations that help children with cancer and other illnesses.  You can read more about the author’s pledge to donate here.  The book is a great gift for children, aged 9-12 or anyone who likes reading fantasy novels!

Mallory’s review:  I found Doorways to Arkomo to be an inviting read that a few chapters into the novel pulled me in completely.  The book explores two different worlds: our own and Arkomo.  In each world is a young heroine, fighting to be like everyone else though each one is battling something different.  Grace, from our world, is in and out of the hospital throughout the book due to a cancer diagnosis.  Sorel, from Arkomo, remains a hidden secret in her world because of a complicated prophecy.  The book spends some initial time going back and forth between the two worlds.  I found this part of the story to be the part I liked least.  There was clearly important information about the Arkomo world that was frequently hinted at yet not divulged….I find this frustrating in any book.  I also would find myself wanting to return to the world of the previous chapter for the first few pages of the next one.  I know many people who like a good teaser though!

After a few chapters, I was hooked.  The book is written for a younger than me audience yet the physical descriptions and character development are wonderfully composed.  The honesty with which the novel approaches childhood cancer, including all of the extremely messy emotions involved from the side of parent and child, is like a breath of fresh air in comparison to today’s media where cancer is being glammed up by Hollywood.  Doorways to Arkomo is about friendship, survival, and about facing something incredible with courage and strength.

Bastian’s review (as told to Mallory and paraphrased):  I’ll say one thing, the book was really good and I can’t wait for the next one.  The book was very real.  Kids get sick.  These things happen.  I could really understand Grace’s emotions as she was in the hospital and preparing for treatments.  I hated the doctors and the nurses just like she did.  They were doing all of the things to me that were so uncomfortable.  The fantasy in the book makes it so that the reader isn’t depressed the whole time though.  The bits of fantasy in between the parts of the story set in our world help to lighten up the story.  I’m really excited to read the next book.  I didn’t even read the teaser for the next book at the end of Doorways to Arkomo because I wanted to wait.

Other things Bastian told me while we were hanging out…I didn’t really like talking to the other kids at the hospital.  You always end up talking about why you’re in there and I didn’t want to talk more about my cancer and all of the tests.

Alright!  Now is the really fun part!  A GIVEAWAY!!!  You can get your very own signed copy of the book for free!  All you have to do is comment here on the blog post or on our facebook page and offer up your reason for wanting to read the book!  Maybe you love fantasy books, maybe you know a young person suffering from cancer or a young person who loves to read?  We want to know!  🙂  If you are interested in buying the book, you can purchase it directly from the author (for a signed version) or on amazon in paper formor ebook.  Jacqueline’s next book, Doorways Home, is expected out this year!

As always, let us know what you think once you read the book!

Embroidered Pictures DIY

Embroidered pictures look like the perfect DIY for young adult cancer survivors (patients, caregivers, you name it!).  When I was going through cancer treatments, I had no idea that awesome, simple, and calm DIY projects even existed.  (I think I was living under a rock?)  🙂  This embroidered pictures DIY has been showing up in a few of the blogs that I frequent and it looks like the perfect, fun project for a young adult survivor to me!

This cool looking DIY involves actually adding embroidered embellishments to pictures and postcards!   Talk about a neat and creative way to spice up some of the pictures in your home or postcards from places you’ve visited!  The process is super straight forward and I’ve seen the project done multiple ways now.  Etsy has an article where they explain how to embroider pictures or postcards and A Beautiful Mess has a great tutorial as well.  The Glamorous Housewife explains how to iron pictures onto fabric and embroider from there.  Get the kids together and go to town!

If you try this project (or any other here on Lacuna Loft) let us know!  We’d love to hear from you!

image via

A Story Your Way Kickstarter Campaign

[spb_single_image image=”11351″ image_size=”full” frame=”noframe” full_width=”no” lightbox=”yes” image_link=”” link_target=”_blank” width=”1/1″ el_position=”first last”] [spb_text_block pb_margin_bottom=”no” pb_border_bottom=”no” width=”1/1″ el_position=”first last”]

When young adults with young families are affected by cancer, children become a part of a complicated conversation revolving around difficult topics like wellness, cancer treatments, and quality of life.  Family schedules adapt to meet the need of the parental cancer patient, and day-to-day life changes for everyone involved.  Bringing children into this conversation is a complex task.  With children growing up in more diverse households, it is time that books specializing in explaining a parent’s cancer diagnosis to children mimic this trend.  A Story Your Way kickstarter campaign is seeking to change all of this.

NovaCarta, a non-profit based out of Switzerland, has set about tackling how best to explain to children what cancer means and how their family will be affected.  The association’s maiden project, A Story Your Way, allows families to create a book reflecting their exact situation, including cancer type and family structure.  These wonderful and adaptable books are created directly on NovaCarta’s website and sent straight to the family.  The family selects a number of parameters including cancer type, family structure, primary language spoken at home, illustrator choice (there are 3 different styles to choose from), and treatment plan.  In this way, single parent households, same-sex couples, and heterosexual couples can all have a book representing their family properly.  The family’s book can explain their own cancer story to best present the topic to children.

The books will be initially available in English, French, German, and Italian with later versions offering even more language options.  Later versions of this project will also be adapted for older children dealing with a parental cancer, dealing with a sibling’s cancer, and other illnesses but first, NovaCarta needs your help!  Funding for the project, A Story Your Way, is currently underway on kickstarter!  To find out more about the association, you can visit their website here.  If you are interested in helping fund this fantastic project, you can visit their kickstarter campaign here.


Here is more information about the project, straight from NovaCarta…

Explaining illness and its consequences to children is often a difficult and complex endeavour. A simple approach rarely reassures a child. It is therefore important to thematize the situation, the new daily routine and the specific changes the patient will go through. Studies done over the past 20 years show the importance, for children’s well being, to include them in open discussions concerning a parent’s illness (see bibliography). These studies explain that parents often find themselves lacking the appropriate means to have such discussions.

The importance of openly communicating about a parental cancer with children is imperative for their well being. Children who receive clear information throughout the period of a parent’s illness are less anxious than those that do not. For certain illnesses, like breast cancer for example, dedicated books exist to treat the subject matter with kids. However, these books focus on one specific case and moreover reflect a standard family structure. However, the heterosexual married couple with kids reflects an outdated family configuration.

We know that in the United-States, 24 % of cancer patients have dependent children (the number goes as high as 33 % in the case of breast cancer).

Some extra statistics on family :

– 1.9 million single parent households in the UK in 2013

– 28 % of children in the US live with one parent. pg.23

– 16.4 % of same sex couples have children (idem pg.24)

We can see that today children are growing up in families of many different configurations. Now, while these families may face discrimination in certain aspects of their lives, cancer doesn’t discriminate and can unfortunately affect their lives. Our book can be adapted to all family structures and cancer types, so families that have as of yet not been represented in this type of literature can get a book they relate to.

Novacarta will use the ease of print on demand technology to create individualised books. By preparing a multitude of scenarios covering the problematic involved in cancer, Novacarta will select the appropriate ones for each patient, thus providing them with a story that best coincides with their specific situation.

A semi-automatic work flow will print the book, on demand, for the patient and then delivered by mail.



Barnes, J., Kroll, L., Burke, O., Lee, J., Jones, A., Stein, A. (2000). Qualitative interview study of communication between parents and children about maternal breast cancer. BMJ, volume 321, 479-482.

Billhult, A., Segesten, K. (2003). Strength of motherhood : nonrecurrent breast cancer as experienced by mothers with dependent children. Scand J Caring Sci, 17, 122-128

Forrest, G., Plumb, C., Ziebland, S., Stein, A. (2006). Breast cancer in the family – children’s perspective of their mother’s cancer and its initial treatment : qualitative study. BMJ Online First ( DOI:10.1136/bmj.38793.567801.AE

Keeley, D. (2000). (2000). Telling children about a parent’s cancer – parent’s want help but don’t get it. BMJ, volume 321, 462.

Kennedy, V.L., Lloyd-Williams, M. (9 janvier 2009). How children cope when a parent has advanced cancer. Wiley InterScience ( DOI : 10.1002/pon.1455

Kroll, L., Barnes, J., Jones, A., Stein, A. (1998). Cancer in parents : telling children. BMJ, volume 316,  880.

Muriel, A.C., Rauch, P.K. (2003). Suggestions for Patients on How to Talk with Children About a Parent’s Cancer.

Rauch. P.K, Muriel. A.c. (2004). The importance of parenting concerns among patients with cancer. Criticial Reviews in Oncology Hematology, 49, 37-42.


Check Out Our Pre-Launch Content!

While our blog here at Lacuna Loft is definitely still in its growing phases, there were a handful of posts that went live before our official launch.  We thought, on this lovely Thursday, we would point you back to those posts that you might have missed!

[list type=”like”]
[list_item]a really cool DIY project decorating mugs (you could do plates or vases too!)[/list_item]
[list_item]a post about buzz cuts and hair loss[/list_item]
[list_item]starting to learn the process of surviving[/list_item]
[list_item]some tips on how not to say the wrong thing to a young adult in crisis[/list_item]
[list_item]free, printable puzzles to take anywhere[/list_item]

Happy Thursday!

Plush Monkey DIY craft

The folks over at A Beautiful Mess always have great DIY ideas.  They have certainly outdone themselves with this Secret Notes Monkey plush doll.  The project is fun, easy, and the perfect gift for kids.  The monkey requires a bit of fabric cutting, fabric sewing, and a touch of hand stitching…but the instructions from ABM are so easy to follow and they even provide a free, downloadable pattern!

Are you having a hard time and your kids always seem to be looking for something to keep their attention for more than 5 minutes?  Look no further!  The kiddos will have a blast writing secret notes to one another and putting them snuggly into the pocket of their little monkey.  Depending on the age of your kiddies, you could keep them involved by letting them help stich the face of their own adorable monkey!  If your kiddos are old enough, they could even try the project themselves!  Whether you’re looking for a project to keep yourself busy, or one for yourself and the kiddos, this DIY plush monkey seems to be the place to go 🙂  The little monkeys are the perfect child gift…whether for a kid needing comfort or just a new cute plush friend!

photo via A Beautiful Mess

DIY Decorated Mugs!

Looking for a fun and easy craft project?  Or maybe a less expensive gift idea for the coming holidays?  I recently decided to try a fun (and very easy) DIY project.  I saw an article here for completing these quirky, monogrammed mugs.  My husband and I decided not to exchange 1-year anniversary presents.  I thought making a few of these DIY decorated mugs using one of our wedding stationary fonts would be a creative and inexpensive way to make 1-year anniversary mementos 🙂

I followed the general directions provided by the DesignMom blog but because of how I wanted to decorate the mugs I did deviate a little from the instructions.  I went to Goodwill and purchased a few mugs.  I had trouble finding 2 that were exactly alike but finally stumbled upon a few that I liked.  Plus, you can’t beat $0.50 a piece!  Then I went to a few craft-y stores and bought graphite transfer paper, some tape, and some scissors.  My first deviation from the instructions provided by the DesignMom blog comes from the pens that I used.  I bought a pack of the Pebeo Procelaine markers in black.  Instead of using the fine point, I used the Bullet Tip marker for a slightly thicker stroke mark.  I bought mine off of amazon because I couldn’t find the exact marker I wanted anywhere in town.  I actually thought I was buying a single pen and ended up with a whole pack of them!  (good day!)  🙂  The DesignMom blog used single letters to decorate the mugs (hence the name of the original project being monogram mugs)…but you can really do whatever you want.  🙂  I printed out the phrases, Mr. Right! and Mrs. Right! onto normal, printer paper using one of the primary fonts from our wedding stationary.


I had never used graphite transfer paper before but had absolutely no problems.  I cut out a piece about the size of the writing that I wanted for the mugs.  By taping the darker side to the mug and the printed writing on the outside, I could use the printed font as a guide.  I used a normal pen, traced the printed words, and the transfer paper did the rest!  The transfer paper left a graphite residue where I had traced over it with the pen.


Then I started using the procelaine pen.  I traced over the graphite markings with the text and added some fun embellishments to each mug.  I tried to make mine a bit more feminine and my husband’s a bit more masculine 🙂  I made some mistakes along the way but until the mugs are baked, you can use soap and water (and some scrubbing) to remove the marker.



Bake as recommended by DesignMom…


…and you’re done!  Make sure to let them cool a bit when you take the mugs out of the oven…they will be quite hot!  The mugs (after cooling haha) are ready for use!  (and ready for dishwashing…which is a huge plus in my book)

blog_mug4 blog_mug5

Tips that I learned along the way:

1) Be careful with the pens…they are a little juicy and a little messy.  I had to wash the paint off of my legs more than once because the pen had been hanging above my legs and had dripped a little 🙂

2) These pens come in multiple colors…that might be fun 🙂

3) Having a plan ahead of time about how you are going to decorate the mug is helpful

What do you think?  The possibilities to take this project to the next level are really endless both in terms of decorating and in purposing the mug before giving it away.  DesignMom gives some ideas for ways to use this great project for the important people in your life.  Do you have any others?  🙂  Another huge plus for this project is that you can do it while sitting down 🙂  If you aren’t feeling well, this little project can take up the better part of an afternoon (especially if you are feeling ambitious with your decorating skills) but is also a calm and quiet activity.  With some supervision, this activity would be great for the kids too!  Let me know how your DIY decorated mugs turn out!