Here at the Little Fighters Cancer Trust we (and our supporters) do some really wild and wonderful things to fundraise so that we can continue providing help to the most vulnerable of South Africa’s citizens; Children with Cancer and their Families.
This December will be no different, and while most individuals will be enjoying somewhat of a break over the Festive Season, one of our supporters, Jason Doyle, aka Crazy Nomad will be doing a Fundraising Ride from Johannesburg to Cape Town (approximately 1 400 kms) on a motorised bicycle to raise funds for the Little Fighters Cancer Trust.
The trip will take our riders on the back roads, starting at Melrose Arch, Johannesburg on 15 December 2018, and is the first of it’s kind.
Everyone is invited to witness their send off which promises to be quite spectacular. Hundreds of Motorcycles from various clubs around Gauteng will escort them out of Johannesburg.
If all goes according to plan, our intrepid riders should arrive in Cape Town on 30 December 2018.
A few weeks ago the Little Fighters Cancer Trust was contacted by Hettie Denysschen from Harcourts Winelands, who had found out about the work that we do with Children with Cancer and their Families via social media, and had selected LFCT as a beneficiary.
We spoke a few times over the following weeks and the more Hettie found out about us the more Harcourts was committed to helping, which we of course were very happy about as it has been a very long and hard year and we are always in need of funding so that we can better serve our beneficiaries.
This culminated in an invitation to attend the Harcourts/Optimum Charity Golf Day Dinner on Friday night at the beautiful Pearl Valley Golf Course… and of course Lizelma and I accepted with alacrity.
Any time a child is diagnosed with a brain tumour or, truth be told, any type of cancer, the most obvious question many parents ask is “Why? What caused my child to develop a brain tumour?”
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question.
Scientists now believe that the vast majority of brain tumours in children are the result of random gene mutations but have no satisfying answer as to why a particular gene mutation occurred or why it led to the growth of a brain tumour.
Whether benign or malignant, a tumour grows when certain cells grow, divide, and replicate more quickly than normal cells and/or they do not die when they are aged or damaged. These abnormal cells then begin to build up in the brain, forming clumps or a mass, and eventually growing large enough to press on or cause damage to the healthy brain tissue.
Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer that affects around 100 children the UK annually.
Neuroblastoma is also one of the most common childhood cancers in South Africa, and it can be very aggressive and hard to treat.
In early 2017, Luke Bell from Darlington began falling asleep in his school lessons, prompting his worried parents to rush him to the doctor.
Mark and Becky Bell thought their son may have had anaemia but it never crossed their minds that he would be diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma – a rare form of cancer – just days later.
The shock diagnosis which left the family devastated marked the beginning of a year of extended hospital stays and gruelling treatment, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.
At the end of April, Luke was in the final stages of treatment and enduring what was believed to be his last round of immunotherapy when the Bells were given the devastating news that their little boy had relapsed, with scans showing a progression of his illness.
Over the course of young Dimas Lamp’s nine years of life, he’s gone through some pretty tough times.
Dimas was diagnosed with brain cancer on March 24th, 2017. Dimas had to undergo numerous MRIs, a spinal tap, x-rays, and two brain surgeries.
Dimas was not about to let brain cancer get the better of him though, and this past Saturday at the 10th annual Freedom’s Run, Dimas ran with a purpose: spreading awareness of childhood cancer. He finished with a time of 41 minutes, 54 seconds, proudly crossed the finish line after what he thought was a hard race, especially the hills.
While he didn’t train specifically for Freedom’s Run, Dimas, who is from Shepherdstown, used the local race as preparation for the Every Child 5K on Oct. 20 at Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C.
Dimas is part of the Brain Tumor Trouncers team, and every dollar raised by his team will benefit the neuro-oncology discovery fund, helping brain tumour research at the Children’s National Hospital.
The second Friday in October, which this year falls on Friday 12 October 2018, is a day for raising international awareness of the work of children’s hospices and children’s palliative care (CPC) services worldwide. The campaign is called Hats On for Children’s Palliative Care with the hashtag #HatsOn4CPC.
The day aims to raise funds for children’s palliative care, but more importantly, to raise awareness of the rights of very sick children with incurable and life-threatening illnesses to receive palliative care.
We know that there are in excess of 21 million children in the world who live with a life-limiting illness or condition that will or could drastically shorten their lives.
Sadly, just 1% of these children are accessing palliative care services. Services that do exist are mostly in the developed world. Those in the developing world are often underfunded and inadequate to meet the overwhelming need. As a result, millions of children have a poor quality of life and suffer from pain and other distressing symptoms which could be controlled and significantly improved with palliative care.
Childhood Cancer is a global scourge! There is, however one MASSIVE difference – In rich countries, 80% of children with diseases like Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia(ALL) survive. In many poor countries, 80% die.
While high-income countries such as the USA and Britain have made tremendous strides against A.L.L. and other similar childhood cancers, those gains have not trickled down to low- and middle-income countries, many of which simply don’t have the resources to treat complex diseases.
This inversion of mortality rates marks one of the greatest health disparities in the world, according to the World Health Organisation, which convened a meeting at the United Nations General Assembly to discuss the issue on 28 September, 2018.
“With childhood leukemia, the single biggest predictor of whether you recover or not is where you happen to have been born,” says Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, executive vice president of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and chairman of its global pediatric medicine department. “We’re talking about many thousands of young children dying every single year of diseases that we have known how to cure for decades.”
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust would like to extend a massive, heartfelt thanks to Alba Equestrian Centre for hosting the very first (to our knowledge) “Jump for Cancer” in South Africa (perhaps even the world) to raise Childhood Cancer Awareness as well as to raise much-needed funds for LFCT.
We were contacted via our Facebook Page on 2 August by a lady named Carla du Plessis, whom we assumed was the owner, regarding a “Jump for Cancer” show-jumping show that they wanted to hold on 23 September in aid of LFCT, and of course we jumped at the opportunity.
As the weeks went by, Carla regularly updated us as to all the wonderful people who were coming on board to partake as well as all the great sponsors and we got just as excited as she was at every new announcement…. it is always such a pleasure when a partner includes us in all the arrangements and shares all the exciting news with us because that we also get excited and can update all our supporters and potential donors/entrants with the latest news 😀
Every year LFCT, with the help of all our volunteer Christmas Elves, collects and distributes toys and good cheer to over 2 000 Children with Cancer in Paediatric Oncology Wards and Day Clinics across South Africa. For many of these children, it is the only Christmas present that they will receive.
Each of these Little Fighters will receive an age and gender-appropriate gift (total value around R150-R200) as well as a snack-pack, Santa hat and Christmas cracker.
Apart from delivering gifts to the Paediatric Oncology Wards & Day Clinics, LFCT also gifts each of our Families with presents for the Child with Cancer as well as all siblings under 18 and also sends the Family a Festive Season Care Package, which consists of basic groceries, cleaning materials and personal hygiene products as well as some treats so that they too can enjoy the Festive Season without worrying about where their next meal will come from.
While we are not the parents of our Beneficiaries, each and every single child with which we work is OUR child and we feel every emotion when they are ill, when they are rushed to hospital, when they celebrate their achievements, when they get their Angel Wings…
We share the parents’ pain and sit for hours on end waiting for updates; we check in with them as often as possible, and we try to help out when, where and however we are able to…
We often cry at the utter helplessness we see and hear (but never in front of anyone) and carry our Little Fighter’s welfare in our hearts 24/7/365 but MOST OF ALL we SALUTE their courage; we salute the fact that our Little Fighters handle everything with a smile and that their parents are SO STRONG!!!