We should never take our health for granted, but especially for our kids… it is so important. Too often unknowing children are diagnosed with crippling illnesses like cancer. Too young to understand, kids have no concept of their illness or what effect it will have on their future.
This is our time to try and put a stop to it. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Each year, more than 600 children are diagnosed with cancer and tragically, one in six die as a result.
While these numbers are certainly alarming, childhood cancer is still considered relatively rare and for that reason collaborations with multiple centres around the world are important to get large enough samples for clinical trials and research.
This country is leading the way in Cancer research with exciting new developments in an Australian First, ‘the Zero Childhood Cancer Program’. The program is a personalised medicine regime that aims to push childhood cancer survival rates to 100%.
Cancer is the disease that touches us all. Just recently, I spoke to Pete Evans, an account manager at everydayhero, about his experience with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Burkitt’s Lymphoma.
“When I was 14, I was pretty sick. Nothing too out of the ordinary, I had Glandular fever, then I got another virus and then I got Appendicitis. I couldn’t have known what that seemingly ‘non-threatening’ stream of illnesses would lead to. But it didn’t take too long to find out.”
After six months of stomach pain, Pete was diagnosed at just 14 with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Burkitt’s Lymphoma is a type of non-Hodkin’s lymphoma that is still very rare in developed countries with a higher infection rate for children in countries in Africa.
“I was given six weeks to live,” Pete recalled. “The cancer had grown 30cm in just 4 days.”
To make matters worse, Pete seemed to encounter every roadblock along the way, infections, poor reactions to medication and finally it was an allergic reaction to chemotherapy that left him unable to walk.
But still nothing could stand in his way.
As a boy of just 14, Pete had experienced more health complications than most would ever face in a lifetime.
“It took me two years to learn how to walk again.” Pete said.
But after 9 rounds of chemotherapy and years of rehabilitation, Pete overcame the very disease that threatened to take his life away. Now, 18 years on, Pete is in a way grateful, for what he had been through.
“It is a long and hard slog, but you can come out the other side. Cancer doesn’t have to identify who you are. You should be proud of what you have been through and wear it as a badge.”
September is the month to make this happen. Together, let’s shine the spotlight on childhood cancers and work towards a future with 100% survival rates in kids.
Want to raise awareness for childhood cancers?
- Create your own supporter page on everydayhero for a childhood cancer charity of your choice
- Share your page with your family and friends to spread the word
- Share this article to raise awareness