The Paediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s app is bringing imaginary friends to life in hospitals and cancer treatment centers.
A three-eared rabbit stands on Bridgette Czarnecki’s hospital bed. He playfully wiggles his ear and adjusts his yellow bow tie.
“You’re stronger than you know,” he tells the 8-year-old. “I wish I was that strong.”
A flying pink-haired cow swoops in, pirouetting in the air. “Believe in yourself,” she says in a gentle voice. “I sure do.”
Nearby a friendly green monster smiles and waves. “Never give up, kid. Never give up.”
They’re all part of the Imaginary Friend Society, and they are exactly as billed: a figment of the imagination. For Czarnecki, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in November 2017, they were a welcome distraction from the stress and anxiety of MRIs and chemotherapy while she was treated at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles through February.
Czarnecki summoned the characters from a touchscreen above her hospital bed and the Imaginary Friend Society app developed by the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. The app uses augmented reality, which overlays digital images on top of what you’re seeing in the real world.
“It makes me feel happy,” Czarnecki tells me.
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust would like to send out a big shout to Elli Koutsouvelis and Universal Music Africa for the FANTASTIC donation of R25 000 worth of product for our Family Festive Care Packages.
Our offices are full of great goodies that were delivered on Monday and we are happily falling all over them as we get ready to sort and pack all the wonderful goodies we have, including Christmas presents for our Beneficiaries and their siblings across the country.
Our Onco Parents are also well taken care of – in the form of a wonderful Care Package filled to the brim with food, toiletries, cleaning products, personal hygiene items and a few treats for the Festive Season so that they too can enjoy a bit of a break from worrying about the devil cancer and have sufficient to eat over the Festive Period.
“What is my child’s prognosis?” This seemingly simple but critical question is often among the first that parents will ask their child’s oncologist after hearing that their child has been diagnosed with cancer.
Yet, while the question may be simple, answering it can be extremely complicated. In general terms, oncologists can provide statistics relating to 5-year survival rates for many different types of brain tumours in children.
These general statistics, however, cannot predict an outcome for any one child. Each child’s individual prognosis will depend on the unique circumstances of their tumor and its response to treatment.
A smartphone app that includes artificial intelligence elements may be able to reduce the effects of cancer-related pain, according to recent research presented at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Symposium.
The app, named ePAL, was designed and studied as part of a collaboration between Partners HealthCare Pivot Labs, the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Palliative Care, and the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.
“There is a significant shortage of palliative care providers, which will only worsen in the future as our population ages,” lead study author Mihir M. Kamdar, M.D., associate director of the Division of Palliative Care and an interventional pain physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said in a statement. “This is one of the reasons why technology solutions to help manage palliative care challenges, such as cancer pain, are so important.”
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London confirmed, has confirmed that junk food advertising will be banned on public transport in London from February 2019.
The ban will cover all advertisements for food and non-alcoholic drinks high in fat, salt and/or sugar. It will cover the entire Transport for London (TfL) network, including London Underground, Overground and the capital’s buses and bus shelters.
This writer and Child Cancer Advocate sincerely hopes that more people in positions of power around the world take heed of this ban and do the same, especially in South Africa!
Why? Because childhood obesity is rampant; sugar, especially refined sugars, is extremely harmful to our health, and because according to all leading experts on cancer, including Cancer Research UK, childhood obesity may be driving the increase in cancer in young adults.
Extra fat in the body doesn’t just sit there, its active, sending out signals to the rest of your body. These signals can tell cells in our body to divide more often, which can lead to cancer.
Children with cancer in the UK are to benefit nationally from a service which for the first time will allow doctors to personalise their treatment.
The therapeutic drug monitoring service, developed by Newcastle University experts, allows clinicians to obtain vital information about how much chemotherapy individual young patients should receive.
Youngsters diagnosed with cancer, including infants in the first weeks of life, can be particularly hard to treat as it is difficult to know how much chemotherapy to give.
Doctors sometimes have to make tough decisions about the most appropriate dose of a drug, without enough scientific information to help them decide on the best course of action.
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust would like to give a massive shout-out to the Lions Club of Paarl who sponsored and organised a wonderful Christmas Party for our local Beneficiaries and their Families this past Sunday.
LFCT organised two tour “bussies” to collect our Families and deliver them safely back to their homes again after the party – thanks to our great drivers from Ruiters Tours & Shuttle Services.
LFCT would like to send out a hearty thank you to all the Lions and volunteers who put in all the hard work of organising the party and being there on the day to ensure that everyone had a great time!
Thank You, you really made our beneficiaries and their siblings feel loved and spoiled and gave their parents a few hours of relaxation and enjoyment as well, and that is what it is all about; looking out for the whole family.
Thanks also go out to The Drop Outs Motorcycle Club who came on board with some wonderful presents for our Little Fighters.
This November 27th, join the movement and give – whether it’s some of your time, a donation, gift or the power of your voice in your local community.
It’s a simple idea. Whether you come together with your family, your community, your company or your organisation, find a way to give back – there is no better feeling!
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.
What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.
~ Nelson Mandela ~
It is with overwhelming sadness and aching hearts that today we have to share with you the heartbreaking news that Teen Fighter Kyle Adams earned his Angel Wings last night, 25th November, 2018.
Rest in Peace, Kyle ^Forever 14^
Kyle Adams was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in 2016 and went through harsh treatment, more than one operation, and had his leg amputated and was eventually fitted with a prosthetic leg.
Kyle fought bravely and won his fight – he was always there with a smile and won the hearts of many of our LFCT Family – he was also an ambassador for LFCT and helped out various times, including helping to deliver Mothers’ Day presents to all the mommies in Tygerberg Hospital, where he was receiving treatment, in 2017.
Cancer continues to be one of the top causes of death in many countries, and Radiation therapy is one of the most common treatments used in the fight against cancer.
About 60% of cancer patients benefit from radiation, which is used either on its own or together with chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy works by puncturing the DNA inside cancer cells. This stops the cancer cells from growing and multiplying, eventually causing them to die.
Doctors can use radiation to destroy cancer tumours completely or to shrink them in preparation for surgery. This depends on the type of tumour, as some cancers are more sensitive to radiation therapy than others.