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Puppet Power puts smiles on dials

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Puppeteer Kylie has cancer and loses her hair.

It is just one of the side effects of treatment, which children have been taught through a state-wide tour.

Camp Quality’s Puppet Power show visited Hunter School of Performing Arts last week to encourage kids to be supportive of a classmate who either had a mum, dad, brother or sister with cancer, or battled the illness themselves.

It aims to reduce the likelihood of bullying, exclusion, confusion or anxiety, while the puppets also explain that cancer is not contagious.

The show rallied around 11-year-old Oli Novak.

His mother, Courtney, said it provided information about cancer in a language that children could understand.

“It goes through the side effects that kids could find weird, like why their mate at school is suddenly wearing a beanie,” she said.

“I thought it was very beneficial for Oli to be there and have all of his friends there, as well as other students at the school who might be experiencing cancer in a different way.

“It was really beautiful for them to witness – the show helped to take away that element of shame and made it less taboo, which was nice.”

Oli was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in February.

Naturally, it came as a shock to his family but, after undergoing three monthly cycles of chemotherapy, he is now in remission.

“He found a lump in his upper groin, which was a shock because, apart from that, he was completely healthy, active, and growing,” Courtney said.

“[A few] weeks ago, we found out there is no longer cancer in his body, and he is completely cancer-free.”

Oli and his brother will now visit a Camp Quality camp later this year, while his sister is also set to attend one next month.

The camps, another aspect of the charity’s work, are packed full of fun activities for families and kids of different ages across Australia.

It builds life skills and strengthens the wellbeing of kids impacted by cancer, as well as their families.

Visit campquality.org.au for more information on the charity.

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