Our Thanatology Project with Fuerza MEMO in Mexico

Cancer is a complicated topic which can feel overwhelming at any stage. For anyone, including those close to you, it can bring up feelings of negativity and uncertainty about the future. It might make you ask: 

Why me? 

How do I face the reality of cancer? 

What will the future hold? 

Or how should I navigate my grief?  

 

The scientific discipline of thanatology can help us come to terms with cancer. Taken from the Greek thanatos meaning death, thanatology originally focused on gaining a greater understanding of death and dying. Nowadays, however, it can be used to help cancer patients and their families navigate feelings or concerns at any stage of life.  

Thanatologists run both individual and group sessions which can be beneficial in a range of contexts. This includes the initial diagnosis stage, during ongoing treatment, or alongside end-of-life care. The sessions allow you to share your thoughts and build new perspectives. It can also be a way for families to come to terms with the passing of a loved one. Importantly, thanatologists recognise that everyone reacts differently. In Hispanic culture, for instance, death is often viewed as a part of life. When a loved one passes, it is often said they move on to a different stage but remain firmly part of the family. 

 

This July, World Child Cancer began their partnership with the Mexican charity Fuerza MEMO, based in Monterrey, Nuevo León, which provides professional thanatology support to families of children with cancer.  

 

Photo: A mother and son visiting the Fuerza MEMO clinic seeking more information and support for their transportation.

 

In Mexico, when you are diagnosed with cancer, you tend to be referred to a social worker. Many hospitals, however, do not have the capacity to support families and continue sessions in the long term, leaving people feeling isolated and abandoned. Most families of children with cancer in Monterrey already experience financial challenges, a struggle that is made worse by out-of-pocket expenses related to cancer treatment. As a result, it is often not financially possible to afford psychological support from elsewhere.  

World Child Cancer’s project with Fuerza MEMO offers face-to-face sessions and group occupational therapy sessions free of charge for families of children with cancer. The sessions are held weekly. Some families are also offered transportation support if needed. Hospital Universitario Dr. José Eleuterio González in Monterrey is partnering with World Child Cancer and Fuerza MEMO on this project to help refer families to the project and to provide spaces for the thanatology sessions to take place. Many of the families here do not have social insurance, meaning they cannot access the standard public health system, emphasising the importance of free psychological support. 

As a local charity, Fuerza MEMO is well-suited to engage with the community and building meaningful connections. We believe, and hope, this project will allow families to discuss their concerns and come to terms with their child’s diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. 

Uttam’s Story

Meet Uttam – just one of the 662 children as part of our ‘Closing the Cancer Gap’ appeal, including matched funding from the UK Government. 

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Alile’s Story

Discover Alile’s journey through cancer as recounted by her mother, from the initial symptoms to diagnosis and treatment.

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Naa’s Story

We first met Naa in 2016 when she was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumour at 7 years old. In 2021 the cancer returned and Naa underwent treatment again. She has battled cancer twice and is now back in school.

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Joseph’s update

We first met Joseph in 2019 after he was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Find out more how he is doing after his successful treatment.

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Kayin’s story

Kayin was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. He is now working as a carpenter and is feeling happy and strong.

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Rebecca’s Update

Read more about our catch-up with Rebecca after undergoing cancer treatment through World Child Cancer in Ghana six years ago.

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Discover More Stories…

Uttam’s Story

Meet Uttam – just one of the 662 children as part of our ‘Closing the Cancer Gap’ appeal, including matched funding from the UK Government. 

Read more

Alile’s Story

Discover Alile’s journey through cancer as recounted by her mother, from the initial symptoms to diagnosis and treatment.

Read more

Naa’s Story

We first met Naa in 2016 when she was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumour at 7 years old. In 2021 the cancer returned and Naa underwent treatment again. She has battled cancer twice and is now back in school.

Read more

Joseph’s update

We first met Joseph in 2019 after he was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Find out more how he is doing after his successful treatment.

Read more

Kayin’s story

Kayin was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. He is now working as a carpenter and is feeling happy and strong.

Read more

Rebecca’s Update

Read more about our catch-up with Rebecca after undergoing cancer treatment through World Child Cancer in Ghana six years ago.

Read more

Hassan’s story

14-year-old Hassan from the Machinga district of Malawi was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) last year.

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Tiwo’s story

Five years after developing cancer and two years of treatment later, six-year-old Tiwo is doing well

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Franklyn’s Story

Meet Franklyn, now 17, who is fully recovered from cancer and dreams of becoming a doctor to help others

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Rebecca’s Success Story

Rebecca is now able to return to school after undergoing cancer treatment through World Child Cancer in Ghana

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My road to recovery

Prince went on to become a childhood cancer advocate and help many other children just like him when he recovered from leukaemia. Read More

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Estaphanie is excited to start university!

Meet Estaphanie, who is excited to start university after being forced to take time out of school following a cancer diagnosis

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Meet Bulu

Bulu is looking forward to following in his brother’s footsteps getting back on the football field

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Meet Oscar

Oscar was six years old when his mother noticed a swelling on his tummy and took him to a traditional village doctor

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Will you join us?

Together we can close the gap in childhood cancer care.

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