‘Brave’ Pediatric Oncology Patients at UMinnessota’s Amplatz Children’s Hospital

“Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave”

The lyrics of Sara Bareilles’ song Brave struck me. They reminded me of the purpose behind my research and my Honors English thesis: to give children and adolescents a chance to tell their own stories. And, to give all those involved the opportunity to listen, to better understand how these children and adolescents cope with the complex, mysterious illness of cancer. In my mind, the bravery arises in how children are talking and writing about their intimate experiences with cancer.

From Stronger to Roar and now Brave, my emotions are mixed about these charged music videos about the sphere of pediatric oncology. While the Stronger and Roar videos ask for donations to support childhood cancer research in the caption, this video of Brave only links to additional information about the programs offered. I wonder, how does the purpose behind these videos affect how we should respond to them?

I have to say, one of the best things about these music videos is that they counter common misconceptions about childhood cancer. Every time I tell someone that I want to be a pediatric oncologist, people stare at me and say, “Oh. That’s so depressing” or “That’s so sad!”. I’m not saying that it’s not going to be an emotionally challenging career, but at the same time, these are truly incredible and lively children. These videos portray the fun and joy  that is also part of pediatric oncology. These children embrace their passions and make the most of their time in hospitals by playing games, making crafts, and finding reasons to laugh.

That’s why these videos make me smile.

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Filed under Chronicling Childhood Cancer: Illuminating the Illness Experience through Narrative, Dance, Film, Theatre

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