Position Title: Founder, SuperSibs!
Job Responsibilities: Strategy, vision for SuperSibs! Identifying and building strategic relationships and partnerships in oncology and psychosocial communities, government, academia, research, special work
committees/task forces/publications, and funders
Education/Training: Masters Degree in Communications, Univ of MN, BA in Communications; Minor in Public Heath, Univ of MN, Duluth
About Me/My interests: Former business executive Melanie Goldish left her corporate consulting leadership in 2002 to create and launch SuperSibs!, the global nonprofit organization now serving over 24,500 vulnerable brothers and sisters of children with cancer and their families across the U.S. and Canada. A 3x marathoner (for Leukemia/Lymphoma Society) and multiple ½ marathoner (for SuperSibs!) and international figure skating professional, Melanie is a popular motivational speaker and educator at conventions, conferences and meetings worldwide. She is an active co-author and co-investigator on the national Sibling Research Advisory Board. Melanie received her Master’s Degree in Communication and Training from the University of Minnesota. She has served on the Boards of the National Marrow Donor Program, The Marrow Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana. Melanie was honored in 2007 for her impact on children and families by being inducted into the national Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame with Cal Ripken, Jr. Her guiding principle is “Act as if I make a difference.” Melanie is the proud and grateful mom of SuperSib Spencer, age 17, and SuperSurvivor Travis, age 18.
About my program:
SuperSibs! Focuses on Total Family Healing
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, everyone in the family needs healing. Brothers and sisters of children with cancer are often excluded from hospital visits, procedures, updates and support programs and often feel invisible, isolated, confused and abandoned. SuperSibs! was established to help do what overwhelmed parents cannot – focus on the siblings of children with cancer. Our age appropriate comfort and care services are personalized and ongoing -- direct to the siblings (ages 4-18) and their parents at no charge. Independent evaluations are regularly conducted to measure outcomes, and drive continuation or refinement of future programs and resources.
SuperSibs! assists parents by providing information, research and resources to help the entire family communicate and connect more effectively. Through these materials, we help parents talk with their children about cancer and learn to spot warning signs when children are struggling emotionally. Additionally, information for parents and caregivers is available on SuperSibs! website as well as postings by parents and others on SuperSibs! facebook page.
SuperSibs! has an extensive outreach program, which has receive positive evaluation feedback from industry professionals worldwide. We measure outreach effectiveness by using professional evaluators to measure family survivorship awareness, sensitivity, usage and effectiveness of the SuperSibs! education resources. Respondents included hospital oncology Child Life Specialists, Social Workers and Nurses and 86% of respondents scored SuperSibs! as "highly beneficial" support that better enables Psychosocial Professionals to support siblings of their pediatric oncology patients and their parents/families. After using tools and resources from SuperSibs!, their ability to meet siblings' needs increased to 84% up from only 30% prior.
SuperSibs! goal is to change the culture of oncology care to ensure ongoing, evidence-based sibling support and healing as a standard of care. Together, we can help siblings of children with cancer and their families to face the future with strength, courage and hope.
Research: Collaboration re: sibling psychosocial support priorities LiveStrong and CDC-funded study (L. Ewing, Univ of Penn); Collaboration with Sibling Research Advisory Board on siblings’ healthy behaviors and risk factors (A. Lown, UCSF); and on intervention research findings re: family functioning (K. Long and M. Alderfer, Children’s Hosp of Philadelphia)
Clinical: Current LiveSTRONG Community Partners project implementing evidence-based SuperSibs! co-branded sibling onsite programming and evaluation at 25 U.S. hospitals/cancer-related organizations in 2011.
Training Opportunities:SuperSibs! provides outreach education, training and consulting services re: sibling issues, impact and interventions to hospitals, organizations and groups. Online resources are available at www.supersibs.org / For You in the Medical and Psychosocial Professionals sublinks. Contact SuperSibs! for more information.
My Contact Information
Address: 660 N. First Bank Drive, Palatine, IL 60067
Phone: Toll Free Main HQ: 888-417-4704, Direct: 847-778-4451 (cell)
Topics of Interest for Collaboration: Sibling psychosocial impact studies: post traumatic growth, intervention programs, assessment/screening tools, longitudinal studies for lifespan impact and functioning, siblings who are bereaved. Young and teen siblings, as well as adult siblings who had a brother/sister with cancer in childhood. Childhood cancer: family psychosocial impact, parent/caregiver impact. State/Tribe/Territory Cancer Plans: review, consultation
Publications that may be of interest to others: