PROMOTING CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS

DID YOU KNOW that approximately 850 Canadian children aged 0-14 develop cancer each year?  Childhood cancers account for less than 1 percent of all cancers diagnosed in Canada, but it remains the most common disease of death in children and adolescents aged 1 to 19 and the second leading cause of all deaths among children aged 1 to 14. The number of deaths is one-sixth the number of cases.

My friend at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)

While the cancer incidence rate in children has been relatively constant since 1985, the cancer mortality rate has started to decline thanks to research funded by a variety of childhood cancer charity organizations.   That is why it is essential that people recognize the need to fund these charities and help the children affected by cancer and their families deal with the disease and the treatment protocols.

The PROMOTION of CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS is a charity platform that is near and dear to my heart and one that I am passionate about sharing!  Like most young kids at 8 years of age, I didn’t know what cancer was all about and I certainly had never met anyone my age that had cancer.  That all changed for me when one of my best friends was given the devastating diagnosis that she had a malignant brain tumour; BRAIN CANCER!  How could that happen?  She was an active kid like me!  We danced together, played soccer together and did other regular kid things together all the time.  Suddenly my friend was thrust into a world that none of us understood; not her family, not my parents and certainly not me nor our friends.  My bubbly friend underwent a fourteen hour brain surgery and spent over 5 months as an inpatient at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in the Oncology ward and then as regular outpatient for years after that.  The brain tumour and surgery resulted in my friend losing the ability to eat, swallow, talk, walk and breath properly.  Then came the chemotherapy and radiation treatments!  She had to endure 56 weeks of aggressive radiation and chemotherapy in addition to extensive physio therapy and occupational therapy sessions to teach her brain how to do things all over again.  My courageous friend spent years without hair, months extremely sick and weak from her treatments and learned medical terms and procedures that no child should ever have to know.  She also lost close friends on the cancer ward to this dreaded disease;  roommates who gained their angel wings much too young.

My friend and fellow Cancer Survivor at Relay for Life

I spent a great deal of time in the Oncology ward at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and I witnessed what these courageous young champions go through every day just to survive.  As I grew older and understood more and more about the struggles of these children and their families,  I began to volunteer with various childhood cancer charities and assisted my friend and her family in their quest to help others suffering through such a devastating diagnosis.  Many of the charities that I was introduced to emphasized the need to create awareness of childhood cancer and the need to support both the charities assisting those children and their families that have been affected by the disease, as well as those charities that fund critical medical research studies.  There is a definite need  to develop new and more precise treatment protocols and in depth gene studies to help to find a cure for the various types of childhood cancer.

As a regional titleholder, I have been working throughout the Eastern Ontario Region with the various charities to raise awareness of, and raise funds for, childhood cancer.  I am anxious to take my Platform to the national level!

We need to raise Awareness of Childhood Cancer and ultimately, we need to FIND A CURE!  Kids should be kids not patients!

My friend is my motivation, I look up to her for strength during my “tough days”. I hope you have found the same inspiration in my story. It is truly remarkable the obstacles these kids face at a young age.

Charity Websites that promote Childhood Cancer:

A video made by Seattle Children’s Hospital. Take a Look!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihGCj5mfCk8&feature=share

Friends Forever