Clondalkin students create website to help young people battling cancer
By Aideen O’Flaherty
THREE Clondalkin schoolgirls have created a website to help young people who are battling cancer, after one of the students fought Hodgkins Lymphoma, and found that information about cancer was presented “in a very scientific and technical way, and that can make an already difficult situation even scarier.”
Kasia Skoczen was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in late 2015, and two of her school friends, Meghan McGill and Mary Lugemba, found that when they were looking for information on how to support Kasia that a lot of the information about cancer was complicated and inaccessible, particularly for young people.
As a result of this, the three girls worked on a project called My Cancer Cell, which they presented at this year’s BT Young Scientist competition.
The Coláiste Bríde students carried out a survey among over 100 third year students and ten teachers when Kasia recovered from cancer and came back to school in February 2016, and they found that there was a lack of knowledge about cancer.
They set up a website, which contains a personal diary that Kasia kept as she was going through chemotherapy, and also a personal diary by her friend Meghan to show what it’s like to have your best friend go through cancer treatment.
The website features advice for teachers, students and families of young people who are battling cancer, with a personal touch that details the experiences of a young person who has battled cancer that is distinct from the scientific medical information online.
When talking about the website, Meghan said: “Since we are not doctors ourselves, we can only give advice based off our own experience and from interviewing specialists.
“We are planning on developing our website further and making a module lesson that will be available from our website in order to educate people.”