September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time to honour and remember children and families affected by these devastating diseases, and help rally support to give kids with cancer better outcomes by supporting the programmes in place that are focussed on childhood cancer awareness, treatment and care. The International Childhood Cancer Foundation estimates that during the month of September no less than 25,000 families around the world will get the horrible news that their child or teen has cancer – while an estimated 6,667 families will experience the loss of a child. During 2016 more than 300,000 kids and young adults were diagnosed worldwide with a form of childhood cancer.
In Namibia, childhood forms of cancer is becoming a serious concern. In 2015 we registered 133 new childhood cancer cases in comparison to an average of 71 cases per annum between 2010 – 2014. This, while for 2016 we already have 81 case files on the Namibia National Cancer Registry and more pending case files being entered as we speak. Leukaemia and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are the most prevalent forms of cancer in Namibian childhood cancer cases. Childhood cancer is still a big problem because children’s cancer can’t be treated exactly like adult cancers. Current treatments are predominantly toxic and it often affects a child’s development. To treat childhood cancer in the best way possible, we need to create specialized treatments just for kids. The causes of childhood cancer are largely unknown, so, globally we need to study what causes childhood cancer to understand what treatments may work best. Many childhood cancer patients suffer from lifelong damage to their organs, mental health and physical development due to cancer and subsequent treatments to their young developing bodies. We need to understand how treatments affect kids long-term so we can prevent late effects We need to support families affected by childhood forms of cancer; and we need to help the parents of childhood cancer patients psychologically during this horrible ordeal. More children are being diagnosed with cancer today than ever before. And it’s time we change that!
Families, caregivers, charities and research groups across the globe need to unite and use the observation of September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to take a united stance in the fight against childhood forms of cancer. In Namibia, the Cancer Association, presents the “2017 Go 4 Gold in September” campaign to raise awareness on childhood cancers in our country. We aim to sustain the CHICA (Children Fighting Cancer in Namibia) Fund and the CHICA Interim Home for childhood cancer patients and their families (where we are launching this drive today); and most importantly we have it as our main objective to raise funds for the renovations and upgrades that CAN is planning for the Paediatric Oncology Wing (Floor 8 West at Windhoek Central Hospital) to assist the Ministry of Health and Social Services in fighting childhood cancers. This project is estimated at over N$150 000 alone, in addition to funding the CHICA Fund and CHICA Interim Home. Only when we stand together as a united Namibia, can we impact lives and support for brave young Namibians fighting cancer, can we make an effective difference.
We call on every Namibian, young and old, to support the “Shake-a-Can-4-Cancer” and “Tekkie Day” on Friday, 15 September 2017. A Donation of N$20 will get you a bright sticker to wear with your work or school uniforms, while you put on tekkies on this day and show your classmates and colleagues that you support children fighting cancer. On Saturday, 16 September 2017, CAN hosts the “2017 National Cancer Walk”, powered by RadioWave 96.7FM and project partners. The walk will commence at 7:30AM at several towns throughout the country to support the theme: “Walk cancer out of Namibia!” The tickets for the cancer walk are a N$75 donation per person, and all participants receive a lovely eco-friendly recycled wood gift, that can be used as both a medallion or key ring. The contact points nationwide to register for the National Cancer Walk are:
Windhoek – Cancer Association of Namibia, 061 – 237740 & Biltong Shop, Maerua Mall
Rehoboth – Junitta Rittmann, 081 477 3330
Mariental – Junitta Rittmann, 081 477 3330
Swakopmund – OTB Sport Shop & Anita Korf, 081 127 3782
Walvisbay – Zaskia Weber, 081 244 6943
Otjiwarongo – Leonora Kurz, 081 327 2585
Tsumeb – Pop Ayres, 067 221250