Cancer doesn’t mean you can’t have fun
TASMANIAN schoolchildren are being taught the power of positivity, even when life throws something as scary as cancer at you.
Puppeteers from Camp Quality are touring primary schools to bring a healthy dose of laughter to children whose lives have been touched by cancer.
Puppeteer Elleni Karagiannidis said the program was visiting schools where a child might have been diagnosed with cancer or where an adult in a child’s life has had cancer.
“Kids can have a lot of myths and preconceptions, and we try to break them down,” she said.
Children are taught that “you can’t catch cancer” and the side-effects of chemotherapy are explained in simple language.
Ms Karagiannidis said the puppet show, which stars a girl being treated for cancer, was created to address the exclusion and bullying experienced by some children.
“The reason the puppet show started was because children would return to school after being treated for cancer and they would face bullying,” she said.
Ms Karagiannidis said the disease could be very isolating for children.
The puppets encourage children to fight cancer with the “superhero” force of positivity.
“It’s not fun having cancer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun,” they say.
The travelling puppet show went to children at Mount Carmel College in Sandy Bay on Friday.
Camilla Joyes, 7, and her brother Henry, 5, were among the delighted children in the audience.
Camilla has her own cancer fight, after being diagnosed with a tumour on the optic nerve.
After undergoing chemotherapy treatment, the tumour stopped growing and her condition has been stable for the past two years.
Camilla said she liked to go to gymnastics when she needed a dose of positivity.
“I do cartwheels there,” she said.
The puppeteers, from Melbourne, are touring Tasmania twice this year - two weeks this month and another two weeks later in the year. The tour has been supported by the Ricky Ponting Foundation.