Today is Diwali, the Festival of Lights, a day of celebration that spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.
Today is also the day that our Little Fighter, Aleem’s greatest wish would have been made manifest as he would have flown up to Durban with his mommy Kaneez and sister Kamie to meet Gambit the Dolphin at uShaka Marine World today.
Today is also the day that Aleem’s Family and Loved Ones will say their final goodbyes as his funeral takes place at 9am…
Emotions are all over the place… there are no words…
Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer that develops in the light-sensitive lining of the eye, called the retina.
Retinoblastoma can occur at any age but mainly occurs in children younger than 5 years of age and most often in those younger than 2.
In many developing countries where tumours can progress until they literally burst out of eyes, retinoblastoma remains an often fatal diagnosis, whereas in other countries the survival rate has risen to 98%.
Retinoblastoma was one of the first cancers to have its genetic origins identified in the late 1980s — a finding that helped launch the current era of personalised treatments that have transformed treatment of breast, lung, and prostate cancer.
To date though, children who develop these rare tumours have not benefited from that wave of precision diagnostics and therapies. This is mainly due to the fact that doctors have not been able to biopsy the tumours for genetic information that could guide treatment, without removing the very eyes the clinicians are trying so hard to save.
You can read about our own Little Fighter, Helen’s story HERE
It is with overwhelming sadness and aching hearts that today we have to share with you the heartbreaking news that Little Fighter Aleem Bowman earned his Angel Wings at 19H20 last night, 15th October.
Rest in Peace, Aleem ^Forever 5^
Aleem would have flown to Durban with his mom and sister – accompanied by Mandie from the Little Fighters Cancer Trust – this coming Thursday to meet Gambit and the other dolphins at uShaka Marine World…
Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Therapy is a form of cancer immunotherapy which seeks to sharpen and strengthen the immune system’s inherent cancer-fighting powers.
CAR T-Cell Therapy was approved in August 2017 ~ the first time that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CAR T-cell therapy for a form of cancer ~ for the treatment of paediatric and young adult patients with B-cell ALL that has relapsed or hasn’t responded to previous treatments.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) is a type of leukaemia in which a group of white blood cells, called lymphocytes, are affected. Leukaemia is the most common form of cancer in children, and about 80% of children with leukaemia have Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
CAR T-Cell Therapy involves treating patients with modified versions of their own immune system T cells – white blood cells that help protect the body from disease.
Lewis Silverman, MD, Clinical Director of the Hematologic Malignancy Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, said:
“It’s a very exciting development in our ability to treat childhood ALL. It offers hope to those that we haven’t been able to treat with conventional therapy. This is a hugely exciting time in childhood leukaemia research”
Today we put out a very urgent plea for help to make a wish come true for young Aleem, a 5-year-old boy with terminal cancer.
Little Fighter Aleem Bowman was born on 25 July 2012. When he was admitted to Red Cross Children’s Hospital on 15 September 2016, he was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma.
Aleem went through RCCH High Risk Neuroblastoma Protocol until April 2017, which included tests, scans, blood work, regular transfusions, hospitalisation, intensive chemotherapy and other treatments, and loads more.
Mommy Kaneez, a single mother, has had to handle a lot, and unfortunately this became even worse when the doctors informed her recently that there are simply no more treatment options for Aleem. He was on maintenance chemo for a short while, which was given purely to extend the time he has with his family, but even the maintenance chemo has now been stopped, as it serves no purpose anymore, and could now be harmful.
Aleem lives with his mommy (who had to give up her job to look after Aleem) and his older sister Kami at Kaneez’s elderly Parents’ home. Things have been very difficult for this family and The Little Fighters Cancer Trust has been offering whatever assistance we could such as food, clothing, bedding, and other practical needs since 7 October 2016.
Aleem was friends with another Little Fighter who lost his Fight last year, but who, before he died got his greatest wish and was able to visit Durban and have a very special interaction with the dolphins at Ushaka Marine World. Aleem saw the photographs, and has been talking about the dolphins for months!
Last week LFCT received a letter from Aleem’s Oncologist, positive about this travel and clearing him medically for the trip!
In an effort to improve outcomes for patients with some of the deadliest Childhood Cancers, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists have created the world’s largest collection of Childhood solid tumour samples, drug-sensitivity data and related information and have made the resource available at no charge to the global scientific community.
St. Jude and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute collaborated to create the resource, known as the Childhood Solid Tumour Network (CSTN), which was launched in 2013.
“Survival rates for children with recurrent solid tumours have not improved significantly in more than 20 years and remain below 30 %,” said corresponding author Michael Dyer, Ph.D., Chair of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “This research will change that by promoting scientific collaboration to leverage the efforts of researchers worldwide to advance understanding and ultimately treatment of Childhood solid tumours.”
While most people know Garth Taylor for his chart-topping radio hits, few know he is an avid fitness fanatic and that kickboxing is his second passion.
Garth won the SA Amateur Kickboxing Championships in the lightweight category in 2014.
In an effort to raise funds for the Little Fighters Cancer Trust (LFCT) during Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Garth returns to the ring at the White Collar Boxing 19 event at Scarlet Ribbon, in Modderfontein TONIGHT, September 15.
“I lost my sister to cancer. Having watched what she went through as an adult fighting this disease, I can only imagine how much worse it is for children to be fighting this battle,” comments Garth. “I figured, how bad could it be? Me stepping into the ring and getting punched around for kids who are fighting for their lives every single day.
“I hope that the general public and companies will pledge towards this campaign and that we can raise funds and help make a difference. Cancer is a bully, and I will be fighting with everything I have for this cause,” he adds.
Parents who are dealing with caring for a Child with Cancer undergo huge amounts of stress, and generally experience both positive and negative changes in their relationships, communication, stress, and their roles.
Emotions run the gamut; anger, anxiety, guilt, and distress will all ebb and flow during the course of the child’s illness. Childhood cancer is a family affair, and while these emotions will generally all be expressed at one time or another by all family members, expression is generally more overt from mothers and children.
Childhood Cancer affects the family’s needs in a myriad of ways such as self-esteem, social interaction, their need for care, and general functioning. This may cause the parents to have to change or modify their family roles to cope with the demands of their child’s illness.
According to the 20th edition of the South African Health Review published by the Health Systems Trust (HST) on Wednesday, South Africa is experiencing an increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which imposes a heavy burden on healthcare services, which are already under tremendous strain from HIV and Tuberculosis.
NCDs include diseases like cancers, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes are the leading cause of mortality and disability globally. 80% of NCD deaths reportedly occur in low- and middle-income countries (including South Africa), affecting disproportionately more individuals younger than 60 years than in high-income countries.
According to the report, stronger prevention and community-based programmes, including those involving Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) are required, to “avert the growing burden of NCDs.”
A potential side effect of chemotherapy treatment is issues with taste — either food not tasting like anything or a bitter or metallic taste in one’s mouth.
Food for Children with Cancer going through Chemotherapy is important, because they need to keep up their strength up and maintain weight.
Why does this happen, and what can you, as a parent, do to cope?
As chemotherapy kills cancerous cells, it kills other types of cells too, including taste cells. Fortunately this change in taste is usually temporary – the chemotherapy agents in the blood stream get into the saliva, giving it a metallic flavour.
The most important thing that you need to do for your Child with Cancer during and after treatment is to see that they eat sufficient and that what they eat is nutritious, which can be rather difficult when your child has no appetite, may have sores in their mouth from the chemotherapy and when everything tastes different anyway.