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What is a Child of Disease?

A 'child of disease' is a child whose parent was diagnosed with a long-term or chronic illness before they turned 18. These children witness their parent(s) become ill and stay ill long term, a heartbreaking experience that one should not have to face until well into adulthood.

Our mission

Exploring the effects of chronic parental illness on

childreN, TEENS, and young adults

The goal of our project is to bring to light the trauma these children endure and create a support system for the families in these situations.

Ill Parents are left in the dark as to how to help their children through these difficult times and children are left to deal with the trauma surrounding their parent's illness mainly alone. We want to change all this! We want to bring education to the parents and support to the children.

Meet the Director

I, Madison VanDerlinde am making this film because I am a ‘Child of Disease’. Growing up with a chronically ill father (and for a short time an ill mother) has had a lasting impact on mine and my sister’s life. The children around us as we grew up had no idea the hardship my whole family was facing and continues to face. I absolutely hate the idea of other children growing up feeling as isolated and hopeless as my sister and I felt while we watched my father come in and out of the hospital, try medication after medication, and have ailment after ailment.

The scariest thing to a child is losing their parent. When a parent is ill children are confronted with this reality every day. While most children are focusing on school work, hanging out with friends, and playing on the playground ‘Children of Disease’ are worrying about their parents, putting on a brave face, and wondering why this is happening to them. It is an unfair way to grow up, as this is an underreported topic, but I know we can make it better by talking about it. There are so many families in similar situations to my own, many much worse off than mine, but for some reason there is no sense of community. We aim to change all that and tell ‘Children of Disease’ everywhere...

                                                                                                                                                                                                     you are not alone.

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10% of children

live in households where a parent has a chronic illness

Children with chronically ill parents have significantly more signs of 

anxiety and depression

than children of healthy parents

The number of college students with chronically ill parents is

Not tracked


Research often focuses on the ill child, but typically

 children of chronically ill parents 

Made Possible by

Children of Disease is an Independent Documentary Film produced by VanDerland Productions LLC. We produce films through crowd funding campaigns. That means this whole project is being funded and produced by families and individuals that support this film. We couldn't do it without all of you, on July 15th 2019 with the help of 73 backers we completed a successfully funded Kickstarter Campaign! Now we are working hard to complete the film and send out rewards to everyone who contributed. 

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