"Hell, we were scared": A Family Cancer Journey

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KidsCan! Wilkie Family
David Wilkie and family have utilized the KidsCan! program for support as they walk through his cancer diagnosis. Photo credit: King Photography

When David Wilkie of Smithfield was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in October 2021, he and his wife, Jessica, didn’t know how they were going to tell their children. “You know they’re going to be scared,” David, 53, said. “Hell, we were scared.” Shortly after his diagnosis, Hannah Sasser, a certified child life specialist with the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program, reached out. She helped Maxwell, 9, and Eva, 8, understand what their mom and dad were going through. She also connected the family with KidsCan!, a monthly virtual support group for children whose parents have cancer.

“It made it a whole lot easier to talk to the kids about what’s going on,” Jessica said. “The people facilitating KidsCan! are doing a great job answering their questions. It takes a lot of pressure off us.”

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