Skip to main content
What We DoOur ImpactSocial JusticeContact UsCommunity PartnersFAQsVideos
site background
site background
Service Hub

Service Hub

Childhood Illness

What is childhood illness?

 A childhood illness is any disease or illness that commonly affects infants and/ or people under age 18.  Because children’s bodies are growing, many illnesses that are faced by children come with challenges that are unique in childhood versus adulthood. While any childhood illness is a concern, some are more challenging to deal with than others.  Chronic illnesses such as asthma and diabetes have no cure, however, with the help of doctors and medicine, children with these diseases can often keep the symptoms of these diseases under control. Unfortunately, there are still many childhood illnesses that do not have enough medical treatments and can have a much more serious impact upon a child’s life.  Examples of these kinds of illnesses include diseases such as cancer, heart conditions, and cystic fibrosis, as well as many other diseases that you might not have heard of, because they are more rare. 

How does childhood illness affect the child with the illness?

Children dealing with illness may have to cope with pain, undergoing tests, taking medicines, and changing their diet and lifestyle. Their illness can interfere with their education because they may have to miss school often or for long periods of time. Additionally, illness and hospital stays often prevent sick children from playing with other children or doing fun things with their families.

How does childhood illness affect the family?

Childhood illness affects an entire family in many ways.  The stress and concern that occurs when a family finds out that their loved one has a serious illness can be very intense. Lots of things within the family often change.  Parents may have to miss work frequently in order to stay home and care for their sick child or take them to doctor’s appointments. Siblings may have to put some of their wants aside because the child who is sick needs a lot of their parents’ attention. Additionally, many families who have a child with a serious illness struggle to cover the high cost of the medicines, doctors, and hospital stays that are necessary to care for their child.

How can children with serious illnesses be helped?

Researching a cure for childhood illnesses is an important part of addressing this problem.  Doctors and researchers have discovered ways to treat, cure, or even prevent many childhood illnesses that were once very deadly or debilitating. Vaccinations are one example of this.  There are also ways that you can help a friend with a childhood illness. Most children with an illness just want to be treated like any other kid and want to enjoy as many friends and daily activities as anyone else.  When you treat them as just a friend, and not a friend with an illness, you give them a chance to forget about their illness and just have fun!

Learn More

Learn about specific childhood illnesses5 ways to help a family dealing with childhood cancer or other serious illness(PDF) Books on this topic(PDF) Books on this topic part 2(PDF) Service Project Ideas

Adult Illness


Child Abuse

Childhood Illness


Disaster Relief

Domestic Violence




Mental Illness

logo image
Calendar of EventsVolunteer OpportunitiesDonateEducator Resource Center
Contact Us!