The Baumgart Family

Jennifer Baumgart was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer in May 2015. Within a few weeks, it became Stage IV when it spread to her liver. Jen and her husband, Glen, knew they needed help for their daughters, Clara (10) and Josie (8). “I just wasn’t sure what the future would hold,” she says, “how to explain cancer, chemo, side effects, and seeing mommy sick, to my kids.” As a Hospice Social Worker, Jen had already been aware of Wonders & Worries. After her first appointment with her oncologist, she called and made an appointment for her children to meet with a Wonders & Worries child life staff member.

I wasn’t sure what the future would hold.

Clara and Josie started attending the six-session “New Wonderers” group together. “That was perfect because it was consecutive,” Jen says, “and the girls needed that level of support at first.” Child life staff member Michele Martin worked with the girls, who also attended a few private sessions in addition to the groups. “Her kindness and openness with the kids helped them feel safe,” Jen says, “It allowed them to share and be a part of Wonders & Worries.” Gradually, Clara and Josie have settled into a rhythm attending the monthly illness group, a check-in group for children with a parent with an ongoing illness, as well as Family Fun events like the annual bat cruise and holiday events.

I can’t say enough about Wonders & Worries. We are very lucky to have them in our lives.

Wonders & Worries provided support for Jen’s family through a tough time. “When that unexpected illness takes over, your life changes instantly,” she says. “You suddenly are fearful about the future, how you can explain this to your kids, and everything that’s going to happen.” Wonders & Worries helped Jen learn more about her kids, how strong, intelligent, and empathetic they are. She learned her children had their own journey through her illness, and their own emotions about it. “I can’t say enough about Wonders & Worries,” Jen says. “We are very lucky to have them in our lives.”