Imagine trying to explain to a 10-year old boy why his father can’t play football with him like he used to? Or reassuring a 6-year-old about why her mother goes to the doctor every 6 or 12 months? How can you explain vague symptoms of tiredness, irritability and mood swings?
This festive season, Hepatitis Victoria has relaunched a crowdfunding project to help finish the final version and distribution of a book and animation for a character called ‘Little Hep B Hero’. The aim is to raise $5000 to help launch the book and animation in March 2018.
“We want to inspire our kids to become their parents’ ‘Little Hep B Heroes’,” said Aurora Tang, Community Education and Engagement Manager for Hepatitis Victoria.
“Hepatitis B is a preventable disease that is still shrouded in mystery and misconceptions mainly because of the stigma and discrimination that surrounds it.
“There is an urgent need to tackle stigma and explain to families what hepatitis B is and how it can be tackled especially in groups where there is a high prevalence of chronic hepatitis B related liver cancer, such as people from Vietnam and Chinese-speaking regions,” she said.
The book and animation project are a unique and creative way to inform the community of a burgeoning health issue. Sadly, up to 6 Victorians die every week of hepatitis related liver disease, a greater number than the state road toll.
“With more knowledge, each child can play an essential part in providing care and support within the family and also act as an ambassador for general community awareness to destigmatize hepatitis B in the community,” Aurora said.
The Little Hep B Hero character and book have been inspired by the dilemma experienced by a young mum who volunteered at Hepatitis Victoria, and her difficulty of explaining her hepatitis status to her young child. If untreated, hepatitis can lead to liver cancer and death.
With an estimated 239,000 Australians (57,000 Victorians) living with hepatitis B, there are many parents have to think about how they answer these questions everyday – but there are no child-friendly ways to assist them.
Our volunteer wanted her child to be her Little Hep B Hero, but how?
“I don’t know how to tell my kids they I am living with a potentially deadly disease,” said one mother with hep B who is part of a working group helping with the project.
“They need to know and understand the journey and what it means to our lives. I don’t know where to begin, but all I know is I want my children to be my little hep B heroes,” she said.
People who donate $50 or more will receive a copy of the book when it is published as appreciation of support.