Seven7 DRIVE: All-new KIA Sportage Travels Through Africa in aid of Childhood Cancer Awareness

seven7_kia_sportage_03While the all-new KIA Sportage is still an unfamiliar sight to many, it has already become synonymous with good cheer at paediatric hospitals in South Africa and its six neighbouring states following the successful completion of the second annual Seven7 Campaign, which saw two overland specialists travel nearly 7 000 km in seven days across seven countries in a brand new KIA Sportage 2.4 GDI SX AWD.

The team embarked on this adventure to deliver toys and good cheer to juvenile cancer patients in each country they visited. They also used the campaign as a marketing platform to collect funds for Little Fighters Cancer Trust, a trust for young cancer patients, especially those with terminal cancer and those whose families cannot afford their treatment.

“While the trip was certainly very eventful, the KIA Sportage performed faultlessly. The new model proved to be a very comfortable and luxurious choice, especially on days that you spend 22 hours on the road. It drew a great deal of attention in every country we visited,” says Danie Botha, the editor of Leisure Wheels and Seven7 expedition leader.

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Muhammad Hussain’s Story & Dream Come True

muhammadThis is a story of Devastation, of Hope, of Unconditional Love and of how complete strangers pulled together and restored some Faith in Humanity by being a part of making a terminally ill child’s Dream Come True.

Muhammad Hussain was born to ecstatic parents, Fahrad and Kaamielah, on 15 September 2009, and for the first six months of his Life, Muhammad was a happy, bubbly and normal baby.

At the age of 6 months his parents began noticing that he was not always that well, and after numerous visits to the paediatrician he was diagnosed with Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) in August 2010, and spent his first birthday in hospital. HLH is a very rare blood disease and immune system disorder, and according to Swedish studies, occurs in 1 or 2 cases per million, usually in infancy or early childhood.

After starting a search for a bone marrow match due to HLH, Muhammad was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in February 2012, at the age of 2.

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New Drug Combination Shows Promise in Tackling Leukaemia Treatment Resistance

leukaemiaEarly testing of a new drug combination that attacks the most common form of leukaemia on multiple fronts has shown great promise in targeting cancer cells.

Researchers from the University of Southampton, who were funded by the blood cancer charity Bloodwise, believe that the combination could overcome the problem of resistance to currently available drugs. The research was carried out in collaboration with researchers at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and Portola Pharmaceuticals in the USA.

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the most common form of leukaemia, with over 4,000 cases in the UK every year. At the moment CLL is incurable, but in recent years, B-cell receptor (BCR) inhibitors have revolutionised treatment. However, some patients can become resistant to these types of drugs, and new therapies are much needed.

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Cancer Cures in South African Kitchen Cupboards

Kitchen-CupboardAccording to research, cancer is unfortunately set to increase massively in South Africa over the next 15 years or so; the good news is that local researchers studying the anti-cancer properties of indigenous plants have come up with some promising findings.

According to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the change from traditional to Western lifestyles, characterised by low levels of physical activity and diets high in fat and processed carbohydrates,  will see incidence of cancer increase by a massive 70% in low- and middle-income countries by 2030.

According to various research projects, some of which are still ongoing, there are quite a few anti-cancer foods that can be found in our own kitchen cupboards or gardens in South Africa.


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Is the South African Government Doing Enough for Childhood Cancer?

spotlight-child-cancerbContinuing in this week’s trend of questioning why our Little Fighters and their Families are suffering so much and having such a hard time of it, the question, “Is the South African Government Doing Enough for Childhood Cancer?” is very relevant and one that has been on my mind for a few years already.

Innovators, policymakers, and investors gathered in Johannesburg last month for the South Africa Innovation Summit, and it is upon doing some research into the outcome of this summit and the study, The Prioritisation of Paediatrics and Palliative Care in Cancer Control Plans in Africa” published in the British Journal of Cancer in 2015that has prompted me to post this in an effort to get some answers and possibly light a fire under someone in Government to do more!

PATH, an international NGO dedicated to saving lives through global health innovation, partnered with the Centre for Economic Governance and AIDS (CEGAA) to produce an analysis titled Health Research and Development Budget Allocations and Expenditures in South Africa: A baseline report. This report tracks investments by the South African government in health R&D and highlights gaps. It provides important evidence for civil society to inform advocacy for investments in health R&D.

The report shows that, while the South African government has, over the past few years, undoubtedly made commitments toward ensuring that R&D is prioritised and funded to bolster the economy and create jobs, has established various research institutes, and has committed to ensuring that research funding is prioritised, this has not actually been put into practise.

The government set a target in the 2014–2019 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) that investment in R&D should increase to 1.5 % of GDP by 2019, however, in 2013 investment dropped to 0.76 percent of the GDP

Is that ALL the Health of the Nation is worth? This is UNACCEPTABLE!!!

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Why is Treating Cancer so Expensive in South Africa?

pillsSouth Africa is not a rich country; in actual fact most of its population are poor and with an unemployment rate averaging around 26% the pinch is felt in most households. Add to this fact that in households where there is Childhood Cancer, one parent generally has to stop working in order to be with and care for their child, and the situation looks even worse.

In a Childhood Cancer household, there is not only now one less earner, but the added costs of a special diet, medications, trips to the doctor, clinic, hospital; added transport costs, and of course even if the child is being treated at a government hospital, there are medication costs as well.

It beggars belief then why the costs of medication is so high in this country. One reason is South Africa’s outdated patent laws which prohibits patients from getting generic medications.

Almost 15 years after the signing of a critical international agreement (the Doha Declaration on Public Health) that gave countries the ability to change their laws to incorporate public health safeguards, South Africa has yet to write these safeguards into our national laws. By contrast to the chronic delays in South Africa, countries like Argentina, Brazil and India have actively used these WTO-sanctioned health safeguards to protect the health of their citizens.

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Paediatric Cancer Drug Stock Outs Threatening Lives in South Africa

leucovorin-calcium-for-injectionFrom the Eastern Cape to Limpopo, medicine shortages continue to be reported at hospitals and clinics throughout South Africa, and this often includes a shortage of medications required to treat Childhood Cancers.

As recently as August, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and Pretoria’s Steve Biko Academic Hospital were just two facilities facing drug stock-outs.

As multiple drug suppliers are failing to keep up with demand, doctors are left scrambling to treat children with what they have and it may not always be the best course for kids (Reuters)

One of the drug shortage, for instance, was the drug leucovorin used to treat childhood leukaemias and lymphomas (cancer of immune cells called lymphocytes). The drug is one of several cancer treatments that the health department has confirmed were in short supply nationally – largely because of supplier problems, according to department deputy director general for regulation and compliance Anban Pillay.

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Basic Food Price Increases in South Africa Impacting Health of Children with Cancer

shopping trolleyThe price of basic foods eaten by low-income households in South Africa has increased by 15% in the past year, and many households can no longer get through the month on the household earnings, according to the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PACSA).

PACSA, upon releasing its annual Food Price Barometer on the 13th October, which tracks the prices of 36 basic foods, warned of “greater levels of social instability” as people faced hunger and desperation.

The reason for this post is to give you all just an idea of what we are faced with when our Childhood Cancer Families come to us for help, and why we are struggling so much more this year to be able to help them (apart from all other projects and various other kinds of help, LFCT currently provides in excess of 130 Families with groceries every month).

With one of the parents having had to give up their job to care for their Child with Cancer these families are REALLY struggling to make ends meet for the whole family due to less income and all the added financial costs that come with having a Child with Cancer in the household (added travel costs, added medical costs, special dietary requirements, special personal hygiene requirements, etc. etc.)

Households with no savings to draw on cannot absorb shocks by spending more money,” said PACSA’s Mervyn Abrahams and Julie Smith.

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Living With Retinoblastoma ~ Part IV

retinoblastoma2Today we continue with Part IV, the final post of Living With Retinoblastoma, a fast growing eye-cancer which affects babies and young children.

Today’s post covers everything you need to know about your child going to school or going back to school after retinoblastoma, and includes some great tips on how to help your child cope.

Retinoblastoma affects about 1 in 15, 000 live births, and an estimated 9,000 children develop the cancer globally each year. These posts cover living with retinoblastoma for those who have either had treatment for or have been through enucleation (surgical removal of the eye).

The reason for the posts is to help both children with retinoblastoma and their parents cope for the next few years to the rest of their lives…

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SEVEN 7 Drive for Kids with Cancer 2016

Last year,  3 intrepid travelers, Danie Botha, G.G van Rooyen and Jan van Deventer, traversed Seven countries in 7 days in a Kia Sorento kindly sponsored by KIA SOUTH AFRICA, to raise funds for Children with Cancer who are terminal and are not covered by Medical Aid.

You can see some wonderful photos and read more about last year’s trip HERE, and we will be updating as much as possible again this year so keep up with these wonderful guys right here or on Facebook.

The team of journalists under the leadership of Danie Botha, is once again heading out to traverse 7000 kilometres, across seven African countries in seven days to spread some cheer to children fighting cancer and to raise funds for the Little Fighters Cancer Trust.

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Prayers Needed for Muhammad

muhammad-2016We have posted about Little Fighter Muhammad Hussain, a gentle 7-year-old, on a few previous occasions; Muhammad is a Little Fighter who has been battling for his life since the tender age of 6 months, when he was diagnosed with Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).

Muhammad has been having a really tough time of it recently and has again faced down a myriad of medical complications and issues over the past two days. His Mommy and Daddy have been right next to him at the hospital all the time, and it is heartbreaking for them that they can do nothing to ease his discomfort and pain.

Muhammad’s Daddy’s words to us were, “Muhammad needs every prayer now, asap, every prayer, every last one, whether it comes from the kitchen floor, the bathroom or hidden away under a cupboard, he needs it like sunshine.”

So we ask you today to please send up a prayer, Light a Candle, send Loving Thoughts, send Love, Light & Healing… in whichever way you can to this brave Little Fighter and his Family.

Healing thoughts photo wiccancountessgoldcandlnp0.gif

Living With Retinoblastoma ~ Part III

Retinoblastoma_babyToday we continue with Part III of Living With Retinoblastoma, a fast growing eye-cancer which affects babies and young children.

Today’s post will cover living with a prosthetic or “special” eye, mainly from the child’s point of view, and with some good pointers for parents to help their Little Fighters to come to terms with their new special eye, physically and psychologically.

Retinoblastoma affects about 1 in 15, 000 live births, and an estimated 9,000 children develop the cancer globally each year. These posts cover living with retinoblastoma for those who have either had treatment for or have been through enucleation (surgical removal of the eye).

The reason for the posts is to help both children with retinoblastoma and their parents cope for the next few years to the rest of their lives…


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