At 4 years old, she celebrates the end of her cancer in a video: our psychologist’s opinion on this liberating act

At 4 years old, she celebrates the end of her cancer in a video: our psychologist's opinion on this liberating act

Kataleya, a 4-year-old girl, was filmed at the hospital ringing the bell signifying the end of her cancer treatment. This ritual, often shared on social networks, is shown as if it were the end of a fight against the disease. What symbolism can we retain on a psychological level? Here is the insight from Johanna Rozenblum, clinical psychologist.

Crown on her head, walking quite confidently, little Kataleya, 4 years old, affected by Ewing’s sarcoma – a cancer that affects the bones – walks on a pink carpet which leads her to the bell which she is going to ring , to symbolize the end of his cancer treatment.

This type of scene, often shared on social networks, has symbolic significance. How to explain it, from a psychological point of view? Here is the point of view of Johanna Rozenblum, clinical psychologist.

A tradition that is almost 30 years old

This way of ringing a bell at the end of one’s cancer treatment(s) began in the United States, and more particularly in Texas, in 1996.”Rear Admiral Irve Le Moyne, suffering from cancer, celebrated the end of his treatment by relying on marine traditions. A sound to symbolize the restoration of harmony, another for internal energy and a last one for balance. A gesture full of compassion and hope to show that we have reached an important stage in our lives.” can we read on the website of RoseUp, the association which fights against the disease.

The bell of hope or the return to “normal” life

According to a study conducted in 2020 on the subject, ringing the “bell of hope” at the end of treatment is “a common tradition in many cancer care settings” more “however, little research has studied the effect of this ritual on patients and caregivers“.

In this work, the researchers were interested in “key concepts that emerge from the experience of cancer patients and loved ones performing this ritual“. The patients and caregivers interviewed describe having “perceived the Bell of Hope ritual as a positive transitional experience marking the end of active treatment“and that”was an important step symbolizing the return to normal life’”.

A way to “take back power” according to Johanna Rozenblum

For psychologist Johanna Rozenblum, “this gesture formalizes the progress made. It is a door that opens towards new perspectives, the signal which comes to recognize, for the patient and the teams who took care of him, the battle fought.” explains the expert.

She also reminds us that when faced with illness, symbols are important. “By ringing this bell, patients rationally mark the stages reached” she emphasizes. “This allows them, in a way, to regain power over an evil that has come insidiously.” she concludes.