A Little Bit of What We Do
It is impossible to share everything that the Little Fighters Cancer Trust does on this blog – this is normally shared on day-to-day posts on our Facebook Page, but every now and again I feel that it is necessary to let others, who may not be local and who may not be members of the Page, know what it is that we do on a daily basis and what actually happens to all the donations we receive.
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust works with absolute transparency, and our books are available for scrutiny at any time, because we believe in what we do and what we do is to see that everything that is donated goes directly to the benefit of our Little Fighters and their Families (many of you will know that our “office” is in the home of our Founders, and that most Team members work from their own homes, using their own resources, and that the majority of Team LFCT is made up of volunteers.)
In the past 2 months, apart from supporting the Hussain Family in various ways, including arranging for Muhammad’s Dream to be made possible a few week’s before his death, we have also continued to support over 200 Families and our more than 2 000 Children with Cancer on a daily basis across the length and breadth of South Africa.
The number of Children with Cancer and their Families that we help is not constant, as there are deaths that occur virtually weekly and there are also children newly diagnosed with cancer as well as others that join OUR FAMILY constantly. There is basically never a day that passes that LFCT does not get at least one request for help – from a family, from a hospital, or from various other sources…
As Mandie so succinctly put it in a recent Facebook post;
We are always a bit puzzled when asked, “Where do you find your Children?”.
We don’t find them, they find us.
We get contacted by various sources and institutions, including hospitals, social workers, family members, friends, teachers or by the parents themselves.
We get contacted by phone, email, sms, whatsapp and even the facebook page inbox.
We have a no turn-away policy, and, as every LFCT Parent will tell you, in the very first conversation with them, we do explain that we are limited by resources as to what we can do for them and how often. We make it very clear that we cannot make any promises, except for one.
The only promise we are willing to make, is that we will try our absolute best, to provide Support as and when needed.
Each Family has unique circumstances, and some Families do not need financial or product Support, but merely moral and emotional Support.
Product and financial Support is given with each Family’s circumstances kept in mind.
Our Families fall loosely into the following categories:
*No Income Families
*Only State Grant Income Families
*One Income Family
*Two Incomes Families
*Families receiving other outside assistance
Obviously, we distribute what we have, accordingly.
Once a child goes into remission, we will continue Supporting a Family with product donations for 6 months, to give the Family a chance to get back on their feet, and the parent who might have had to leave their employment, a chance to find another job. We cannot Support Families indefinitely, and we constantly have new Families with Children under active treatment, registering, whose needs we have to prioritize.
When a #LittleFighter passes away, it does not mean that we disappear because the Child is no longer with us. We try to keep in touch with Families, even though everyone responds differently, and we keep the #LittleFighter’s memory alive by remembering special days such as birthdays. Where possible, if we do Family Outings, and we have the ability, we would often invite Families who have lost their Fighter, to join us.
Last month, for instance, we received a message via our Facebook Page inbox from a nurse in one of the Paediatric Oncology Wards, who requested that we make contact with a 17 year old Teen Fighter who was diagnosed with cancer on the Sunday and started treatment on the Monday.
This young lady is alone in hospital, and terrified. Her primary care-giver, her Gran, lives too far away for her to be able to visit. This Teen Fighter only speaks Zulu, and did not quite understand what was going on around her.
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust immediately jumped in and visited her on the Monday evening with a goodie bag. With the help of a very kind Supporter, who translated for us, our volunteer spent some time with her, getting to know her situation, and getting her Gran’s contact details.
This poor young lady had absolutely NOTHING with her in hospital, and as we all know, hospital gowns with their open backs may be practical for medical reasons, but definitely not something that a teenage girl would like to wear or feel comfortable in.
Team LFCT immediately sourced funding and clothing donations from our wonderful supporters and were able to deliver a great parcel of goodies to her on the next visit, which happened later that week.
Neither the young Lady, nor her Granny, her primary care-giver, who lives in another Province, had a phone. Thanks once again to the kindness of our supporters, they were each gifted with a cellular phone and airtime so that they could stay in touch.
Gogo (granny) managed to make the trip for a short visit and was also gifted some basics such as tea, coffee, milk and sugar as well as some other treats to see her through the day. Both she and our young Teen Fighter are very humble and were so thankful for the little bit that we could do for them that there were tears of joy on both sides.
Katrin, our Gauteng Representative, visits our young lady often now with Marcus, who translates between English and Zulu, and also takes care of her washing for her.
One of the other things that LFCT does on a monthly basis is support in excess of 100 Families who have a Child with Cancer, as they are extremely financially strapped and most times cannot even afford the basic foods, let alone the special goodies a Child with Cancer requires.
This is due to massively expensive cancer treatments and medications, additional hygiene & clothing costs, transport costs, etc. as well as the fact that in most cases one of the parents has had to give up their job to be with the Little Fighter 24/7.
As you can see from the above photographs, each family receives a box filled to the brim with basic foodstuffs, personal hygiene products, as well as a few treats (every child deserves a few treats).
All of this is kindly delivered for us countrywide for free by Kargo National Pty Ltd (to whom we are eternally grateful as we would not be able to afford the transport costs).
Due to the nature of what we do, transport arrangements often have to be changed at very short notice; special deliveries need to be made urgently; a depot needs to hold onto a delivery when a Little Fighter has suddenly had to go into hospital and there is nobody home; and sometimes a delivery needs to be completely re-routed. Through all of this, call centre agents, depot managers, admin staff, vehicle managers, and everyone else at Kargo are all most understanding of our special circumstances and that of our Little Fighters and their Families, and move mountains to help us. THANK YOU, KARGO NATIONAL
Apart from the above, our staff are in contact with our Little Fighter Families on a daily basis, giving moral support and more, and updating our followers on everything. In-between all of this there are newcomers who have to be assessed, emotionally supported, and helped in various ways; birthdays to be celebrated, and anniversaries of death that need to be remembered; various ongoing projects that need to be run; hospital and home visits that are done; and the constant, daily fundraising and requests for material donations that need to be done…
Put it THIS way – if LFCT was a business run with the dedication shown by each and every one of these team members, it would be on the Forbes 100 List.
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust covers 3 areas of work; Family Support, Hospital Ward Support and Childhood Cancer Awareness; we are also in the process of adding a very special fourth arm to our existing work.
Our Family Support is not the same for every family, as everyone’s personal circumstances are different – what might be a massive crisis for one Family, may not really be a concern for the next Family. It is for this reason that we cannot, and will not, limit ourselves to what we do for a Child with Cancer and his/her Family, because we will not exclude anyone from whatever type of assistance they may need, if it is at all within our reach to provide it.
Our one and only restriction to giving what is needed is the availability of funds.
At the Little Fighters Cancer Trust we basically do anything and everything we can to make the lives of our Little Fighters and their Families a little bit easier. We provide Support to the Child with cancer and his/her primary care-giver and Family and Siblings in the same home and are available 24/7/365 for emotional and moral support.
Our past services have included:
- Providing groceries, bedding, clothing, school bags, stationary and school uniforms;
- Providing fridges, stoves, carpeting, beds and a variety of household appliances;
- Providing television sets and DVD players for Little Fighters who cannot leave the house for extended periods (often bed-bound);
- The provision of cell phones for parents or grandparents who do not have, therefore cannot communicate with us or the hospital, plus airtime;
- Providing prepaid electricity, medical equipment such as wheelchairs, electric scooters, bedpans, and other medical equipment;
- Providing specialised nutritional supplements, nappies and adult diapers, wet wipes, nappy rash cream and skin products;
- Arranging of family get-away weekends for Families who need to breathe;
- Taking families on outings, arranging birthday parties, birthday gifts, and Christmas gifting;
- Organising special requests and wishes which might pop up in conversation, if the Family is not able to make a Little Fighters Wish come true themselves; we have even done a few Matric Farewell’s.
- Arranging medical transport, emergency transport and transport to and from hospital on numerous occasions, as many of our Families do not have their own transport;
- Fixing up homes or rooms of Little Fighters which might have a leak or have mould, or is not safe or healthy in some way; laying roof tiles, painting, providing burglar bars and security gates;
- Assisting Parents in finding employment, with funeral arrangements, memorial events…and MUCH more
Below is a screenshot of a WhatsApp message received from one of our Little Fighter Families
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust receives no Government Funding, no International Grants and no Million-Rand-a-pop Corporate donations. The bulk of our donations are Private Donations and mainly once-off donations or product sponsorship from a few Corporate Donors.
Posted on 18 November, 2016, in Blog and tagged Cancer Trust, childhood cancer, Childhood Cancer Awareness, Children with Cancer, compassion, Fighting Cancer, LFCT, Little Fighters, Little Fighters Cancer Trust, paediatric cancer, Pediatric cancer, pediatric cancer awareness, south africa. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.