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For Immediate Release
September 4 , 2012
LONDON, Ontario – Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be devastating, but imagine learning that the treatment for your condition will involve lying on a radiation table, wearing a mask which covers your face and is secured down to the table, rendering you immobile. Tiny holes across the mask will provide minimal vision as the radiation treatments are administered, and depending on your treatment plan, you may need to endure these treatments over and over again. This would be a nerve wracking thought to any adult with claustrophobia concerns. Now imagine receiving that news at the age of eight.
This is the daunting reality for dozens of children receiving cancer treatment each year at the London Regional Cancer Program. But thanks to the efforts of Radiation Therapist Jessica Csoborko, treatments are becoming a little less intimidating, and in some cases, even a little fun.
When Csoborko was introduced to a young radiation patient a few months ago, she was warned by his mother that he would never stay still long enough to receive his radiation therapy. He was anxious, frightened, and quite frankly, just an active boy. During a conversation with the child, she learned that he was a superhero fan, with Captain America being his favourite. This presented the perfect opportunity to address how Captain America would handle a challenge such as radiation, and how brave he would be, using his superhero powers to be completely still while he received treatment. When the child arrived for his first radiation treatment the following week, Csoborko was there to meet him with a surprise – with a little creativity and a lot of heart, she had painted his white plastic radiation mask to resemble his hero, Captain America. Treatments were suddenly less of a challenge, and not nearly as scary, because it wasn’t going to be the child receiving treatment – it was Captain America himself.
“Many times we have to sedate children prior to treatment because of their anxiety. If we can avoid that by offering them little comforts such as these personalized masks, then it’s well worth it,” says Csoborko.
Following the success of this superhero mask makeover, Csoborko has continued using her spare time to help other paediatric patients feel more comfortable with their treatments, and has most recently completed a mask to resemble Grover from Sesame Street.
“Jessica’s efforts to create a comfortable and nurturing environment for her young patients are a great example of the compassion and professionalism London Health Sciences Centre strives for every day. It is incredible to think that these children are leaving treatment with positive, happy memories. I don’t think we can ask for anything more than that”, states LHSC president and CEO Bonnie Adamson.
Note to media: Interviews may be booked with Jessica Csoborko for Wednesday, Sept. 5 or later by contacting Kathy Leblanc (contact info below)
About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for 137 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, a joint research initiative with St. Joseph’s Health Care London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 50 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca
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For media inquiries contact:
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 74772
Call LHSC Switchboard at 519-685-8500 and ask to page the communication consultant on-call