CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (June 28, 2022) – The Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer is partnering with the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger to invite any family who has dealt with pediatric cancer with children ages 6 to 12 who have encountered the loss of a loved one due to any reason to come to “ROAD TRIP: Grief is a Journey” on July 28 from 8:30 to 3:30 p.m. This one-day event helps children navigate losses and learn tools that help them cope in the present and thrive in the future.
The camp will provide an opportunity to talk about loved ones who have passed, learn coping skills and discuss ways to deal with grief in whatever capacity the child can. The children will be split into three age groups, participating in a variety of activities together while bonding with other children who have experienced similar trauma.
“Everybody experiences grief differently, and we are here to support each child and their family as they experience the journey grief brings,” said Susan Latta, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at the Austin Hatcher Foundation. “For children specifically, experiencing grief is often new and can be overwhelming, but Grief Camp is not only a great opportunity for children to come realize that grief is a journey, but also to have fun with the various activities that the camp holds. It will be a good day.”
Latta holds a Fellow in Thanatology, the study of death and dying, and has over 35 years of experience in grief counseling. She is co-leading Grief Camp with Michaela Gaither, Austin Hatcher’s Family Services Coordinator who holds her Master’s in Social Work, and Ashley Zani, a certified Child Life Specialist at the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.
Throughout the day at Grief Camp, children will participate in a variety of activities and therapies centered around the camp theme “journey.” This will include travel relays as part of a “big energy” activity, making memory boxes and buttons in art therapy, hanging out with therapy dogs, and drumming in music therapy with Walker Wright, the foundation’s specialized Music Therapist who works directly with oncology patients at Children’s of Alabama.
This grief support camp is open to any child aged 6 to 12 who is part of a family who has faced the effects of pediatric cancer and has experienced the loss of a loved one (no matter if the death was pediatric cancer related or not). Those interested in signing up can contact Michaela Gaither at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While Grief Camp is only for children ages 6 to 12, the Austin Hatcher Foundation is hosting “Experiencing Grief from a Kid's Perspective,” an educational workshop for adults, on Monday, July 25 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. This one-hour session is designed to help parents talk about grief, both their own and their children’s. Interested adults may email Michaela Gaither at email@example.com.
Both Grief Camp and the adult workshop will be held at the foundation’s Education Advancement Center, located at 1705 S. Holtzclaw Ave, Chattanooga, Tenn.
The Austin Hatcher Foundation’s mission is to erase the effects of pediatric cancer and optimize quality of
life through essential specialized intervention beginning at the time of a child’s diagnosis and continuing
through survivorship. Families of the foundation are provided with services such as Mental and
Behavioral Health Therapy, Occupational Therapy, NeuroPsych Testing, Family Programs and more at
absolutely no cost to them.
The Austin Hatcher Foundation Grief Support Program continues to grow and offers other focus areas such as grief support for teenagers and siblings. To learn more about the foundation and the programs offered, please visit www.hatcherfoundation.org. To schedule an individual appointment or tour of the foundation, call (423) 243-3471.