Most people do not realise the amount of pressure, stress and strain that a child diagnosed with cancer puts on the whole family… a diagnosis of cancer does not just mean hospital visits, an operation or medication; it means a complete lifestyle change.
Cancer is not a disease that picks and chooses; it can strike anyone at any time, and it DOES!
I would like you to just close your eyes for a moment and imagine the following:
You are the parent of 3 young children, and are just about managing to pay the rent, school fees, feed and clothe and carve out a meagre living for your family with both you and your spouse working… as is the case with many families in South Africa….
One of your children gets ill and just will not get better no matter what the doctor tries, then some tests are done and you get the news; your baby has cancer…
Your first thoughts are that you must do everything possible to get your child well, and so the journey with cancer begins….
There are the many trips to the doctor and then to the hospital oncology ward; this entails you travelling far away from your home for days, sometimes weeks at a time, as you need to stay with your child during treatment and there are not that many oncology wards in the country…. you cannot do this and still continue working because your boss will not allow you to be off work that much, and anyway, even when you are at work you are too tired from nursing your child to actually do any work…..
Now your happy little family of 5 suddenly only has one parent bringing in an income, but the rent must still be paid, school fees and uniforms must still be paid, electricity must still be paid, everything must still be paid… and you must still all eat…..
In the beginning the family and friends help out as much as they can, but they are also struggling and the help soon becomes less and less…. unfortunately cancer is not a disease that can be cured in a few weeks…
You sell whatever you can, but still cannot make it because you now also have transport and accommodation costs near the hospital, medications and other cancer-related costs to cover… and you really do not have the money to afford the nutrition that your Little Fighter with cancer needs to help heal the cancer and rebuild the immune system….
WHAT DO YOU DO??
Can you now understand a bit better what a diagnosis of childhood cancer means to a family? Can you understand the stress that this causes? Can you help with food donations or monetary donations? Can you NOT??
Read the rest of this entry