September: The Month of Childhood Cancer Awareness

KidzCan Zimbabwe’s love for children continues to grow and this has further been affirmed by the building of the Rainbow Children’s Village which will go a long way in fully embracing the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Initiative on Childhood Cancer (GICC) to increase the survival rate of children suffering from cancer to 60% by year 2030. Currently the survival rate in low-to-medium income countries including Zimbabwe is around 20% while by contrast, at 80% in the developed world.

As part of home-grown solutions to the challenges, the Rainbow Children’s Village (RCV) becomes a panacea to the child and caregiver by aiding the palliative process as it will take care of the so many discomforts that have in the past caused abandonment of treatment.It solves travel issues by cutting bus fare trips and costs through the provision of a home-away-from -home that creates an environment that boosts the morale of the child suffering from cancer.The halfway house also takes care of the nutritional demands of the children as they recuperate in time for the next cycle of treatment and will provide teachings on life skills like gardening while on site.

Bringing relief to a forgotten part of the world is what the RCV will do, and we implore everyone to join hands with us by becoming part of this worthy project. Three foundations, KidzCan Zimbabwe, Meikles Foundation and The Roundtable are the partners to the RCV.It is against a background of a low survival rate of around 20% in low-medium income countries, Zimbabwe included, that we seek to at least give a chance to the little ones to life. The major cause of the high mortality rate is lack of awareness, late diagnosis, and cheaper but unproven alternative treatment. The reality with childhood cancer is that it is curable provided there is early detection and treatment.

The major types of childhood cancer affecting Zimbabwe are neuroblastoma, leukaemia (blood cancer), retinoblastoma (eye cancer) bone, Wilms tumour (kidney) brain, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.Through so many of our activities, we always try to raise awareness and we have registered great success with the survivors’ numbers growing. We are happy that some of our childhood cancer survivors, have gone on to do well in top universities across the globe. That’s the difference we want to continue to make. Research has shown that very few people know that children do get cancer. We know that when a child has cancer, literally everyone in the family suffers the agony. With everyone’s support, we hope to rally resources, tame the disease, and help our children become children again. With better knowledge, it is possible to raise it higher!

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