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Girl helps teach other teens how to cope with cancer in the family

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SILVERDALE  --  A local teen is learning how to cope with her father's cancer and she's teaching other teens how to do the same.

“Cancer really sucks. You might not have it, but if your family has it, pretty much you have it,” says 16 year old Helena Jones.

Jones knows more about life than most adults.  Her father, Kenny, has been sick since she was just 6 years old; first an autoimmune disease, then doctors diagnosed him with bone marrow cancer in 2012.

Searching for a way to cope, she made a deal with her dad. She`d join a cancer support group if he did the same. But Helena quickly realized she couldn`t keep her end of the bargain.

“They have a lot of support groups for spouses and women and men, but they don`t have any for teens and teens are effected, too,” says Helena.

And that`s when Helena realized she faced another big 'C' -- her calling.

With the help of her mom, Michelle, Kitsap Cancer Services and the Haselwood YMCA, she`s launching her own support group called 'We Can Cope'. It’s a safe place for kids 12 to 18 year old, to talk about how cancer is impacting their lives.

Local therapists will oversee the group, guiding them through conversations about cancer.  Helena hopes her support group will help kids understand not just cancer, but coping.

“I feel like I`m accomplishing something that not many people can do.  It gives me encouragement, too,” says Helena.

"We Can Cope" plans to hold its first meeting this Saturday.  It's at the Haselwood Family YMCA in Silverdale.  The support group will be offered in conjunction with the Y's free teen program, which is open to nonmembers.