After battling cancer, 10-year-old Mount St Thomas Public School student Sophie Barnhill knows all too well the meaning of words like ‘‘chemotherapy’’, ‘‘radiation’’ and ‘‘remission’’.
Her young schoolmates are now familiar with such terms too thanks to a travelling Camp Quality puppet show which made a stop at the school on Monday.
The fun, educational show, which will be performed at schools across the region this week, helps preschool and primary school children and teachers learn about the challenges of living with cancer.
Sophie’s mother Angela Barnhill said the show had a positive anti-bullying message which would help kids returning to school after cancer treatment.
‘‘Sophie was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumour, which is a cancer of the kidneys, when she was four,’’ Mrs Barnhill said.
‘‘Luckily it was caught very early but she still had to go through six months of chemotherapy and a short course of radiation and had to have a kidney removed.
‘‘Her hair has grown back and she is in remission, but as she gets older she’s starting to ask a lot of questions about it.
‘‘Camp Quality has been a great support for us and this show is just a great way to educate kids about cancer, and show them how to treat those who are going through treatment who might look different.’’
Sophie enjoyed the performance which told the story of a little girl with leukaemia (Kylie) who is bullied by a classmate (Dean) when she returns to school with no hair.
‘‘I liked how Kylie stood up for herself and that Dean learnt his lesson in the end and they became friends,’’ Sophie said.
Camp Quality spokesman Gary Nunn said the show, offered to schools at no charge, helped create a supportive school environment for kids with cancer.
‘‘Often when a child has been through treatment and returns to school they look different from their peers – they may have lost their hair and gained or lost a lot of weight – and that makes them a target for bullies,’’ he said.
‘‘And cancer doesn’t end for children when they are in remission - they may have one or more developmental, social or educational or chronic health challenges as a result of having intense treatment so young.
‘‘The show explains how important it is to be supportive and understanding of kids living with cancer, so they don’t get bullied or excluded.’’