Blog Archives

How can I Help My Grieving Friend/Family Member?


lost love is still love

One of the things that we try to do during Bereaved Parents Awareness Month is to help the grieving parents make some sense of how they are feeling, to encourage them to give themselves permission to grieve according to their own schedule irrespective of what other may feel or think.

Another is to try to help friends and family understand what it is like to lose a child; what the grieving parents are going through and how best to act around them and help them through this tragedy that has overtaken their lives, which is what today’s post will cover.

When a child dies, the parents will be in shock, even if it is a death after a long-fought battle against an illness like cancer. The bottom of their world has just dropped out from under them, and they will be going through a range of emotions such as disbelief, denial, confusion, anger, hysteria, resentment, anxiety, panic, depression, and a lot more besides.

There is generally no shortage of help when a death first occurs, but unfortunately that soon seems to dry up, as though once the funeral has happened it is all over and done with and everything should just go back to normal, and this is just not so – especially with the death of a child! Read the rest of this entry

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The Mourner’s Bill of Rights


Losing a child is the most painful experience that any parent can be asked to go through, especially when it is a young child that they have had to watch go through the devastating, frightening, physically and emotionally crippling battle against cancer.

Losing a child is like losing one’s heart and then being expected to carry on with life as though everything is still the same – and it isn’t.

People expect you to act and behave in a specific manner, and they have no right; they mumble inane well-meaning but awkward, insensitive phrases like “He’s in a better place,” “Everything happens for a reason,” or “You’re lucky to have other children,” and “Time will heal all,” or “You must get on with your life now.”

In our second article in this Bereaved Parents Awareness Month we would like to once again extend our heartfelt sympathies to all parents who have lost a child/children and remind you that NOBODY has the right to tell you how to grieve, how long to grieve, or anything else about YOUR grief!

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LFCT Share the Warmth 2018 Outreach – Greys’ Hospital Pietermaritzburg


Inge Millbank, Lauren Hook (LFCT) Shareen Ferreira Scott (67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day Pietermaritzburg)

The first of our “Share the Warmth” 2018 Hospital Outreaches has been done!

Each winter the Little Fighters Cancer Trust does several winter warmth projects which we have rolled into one this year, and although donations have been very slow in coming in this year and we are hectically busy with restructuring, we will do what we can to share the warmth in as many hospitals as possible.

On Sunday 24th June our wonderful LFCT Representative Lauren Hook, accompanied by Shareen Ferreira Scott (Ambassador – 67 blankets for Nelson Mandela Day Pietermaritzburg), her daughter Erin Scott and Inge Millbank paid a visit to the Paediatric Oncology Ward of Greys’ Hospital in Pietermaritzburg to distribute warm winter blankets and some other goodies.

Each child in the ward received a lovely snuggly warm blanket to fend off the cold – these Little Fighters get REALLY cold due to the treatments they undergo for their cancer, as well as due to impaired immune systems, so they really need to keep warm at all times.

Each mother – who spends weeks, sometimes months at a time in the hospital with her child, generally sitting in a chair at their bedside and more often than not sleeping in that chair too – also received a lovely blanket to keep them warm during their bedside vigil.

Some lovely warm knitted scarves were also handed over, and received with much gratitude.

 

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TAC & Corruption Watch Reveal Report on Alleged Corruption Behind Gauteng Health Crisis


Explosive details of a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report on massive corruption within the Gauteng Health Department that was quietly shelved have been revealed by civil society organisations keen to expose rot amounting to about R1.2 billion.

Section 27, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Corruption Watch on Thursday made public the 122-page report documenting widespread corruption and gross financial mismanagement, which took place within the department from 2006 to 2010.

Now they are calling for swift action against former Health MEC Brian Hlongwa and other implicated officials, as well as intervention by the Asset Forfeiture Unit and other authorities, who have been asked to respond by 27 June.

The original investigation was commissioned by a presidential proclamation in 2010.

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Feedspot Influential Blog Rank: #4


The Little Fighters Cancer Trust is proud to announce that our Blog has once again – for the 3rd year running – been ranked among the Top Childhood Cancer Blogs on the internet for 2018!

This blog was started in June 2014, and since then we have been hard at work trying to share the most relevant, most up to date information regarding Childhood Cancer as well as some of the Struggles and the Triumphs & Tragedies that accompany Childhood Cancer, and will continue to do so as often as possible for as long as possible.

We moved up from #57 in 2016 to #5 in 2017, and in 2018 we have moved up to 

Feedspot Influential Blog Rank: #4

#ChildhoodCancer   #LittleFighters   #LFCT   #CancerSUCKS #LittleFightersCancerTrust   #HelpingHands   #LFCTCares

 

Thanks a million to all our Supporters and Followers!

 

Could this Drug Protect Children from Hearing Loss after Chemotherapy?


When cisplatin was first used to treat cancer in the late 70s, it made a big impact.

It was the most extraordinary breakthrough treatment,” says Dr Penelope Brock, paediatric consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital. “It started as a treatment for testicular cancer, but it wasn’t long before we started using it to treat children’s cancers as well.”

Unfortunately, as well as killing cancer cells, the chemotherapy also killed cells in the inner ear. This left over 60% of children with hearing loss after treatment.

The unexpected side effect has been a focus of Brock’s research since it was first discovered. And now, almost 40 years later, a solution may have arrived.

New research, funded by Cancer Research UK and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows a drug called sodium thiosulphate can protect against hearing loss after cisplatin treatment.

“With sodium thiosulphate, we have a real opportunity to make children’s cancer treatment safer. The results have been a long time coming, and I’m so glad they’re finally here.”

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WHO Commission Criticised Over Sugar Taxes in New Report


The World Health Organisation (WHO) Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs’ new report, Time to Deliver, called for urgent action against chronic diseases and mental disorders, the globe’s leading cause of death and ill-health, but failed to include a recommendation on taxing sugary beverages.

Sugar and in particular sugar sweetened beverages are “leading drivers of the obesity epidemic”, said chief executive officer of the global advocacy group the NCD Alliance Katie Dain.

Obesity significantly raises the risk of developing many non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and, said Dain, alone, “is estimated to claim at least four million lives each year”.

The report on NCDs, which are chronic non-infectious conditions including cancer, diabetes and mental disorders, aims to galvanise action to stem the death and disease-toll caused by the rise in these diseases. The WHO Independent High-level Commission on NCDs, which produced the report, was convened in 2017 to advise WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the action needed to accelerate progress in the fight against NCDs.

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Alternative Eating for Better Health


While the following article refers more to lifestyle diseases such as HIV Aids, diabetes, hypertension and obesity, eating well and ensuring that you and your Child with Cancer eat sufficient fresh, whole-foods and staying away from processed food as much as possible is critical for your good health.

It is important that we all learn to change our bad eating habits to include healthy eating solutions inspired by traditional southern African foods which contain more Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Fibre, Calcium, Carbohydrates and Protein than what most of us are eating on a daily basis.

Please read this article carefully and take the important information contained therein to heart, but also remember to discuss any changes in eating habits with your child’s oncologist before embarking thereon.

Remember, this is not meant to take the place of any current medication, but as an additional help to build up the immune system.

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Missing Microbes ‘Cause’ Childhood Cancer


Our modern germ-free life is the cause of the most common type of cancer in children, according to one of Britain’s most eminent scientists.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) affects one in 2,000 children.

Prof Mel Greaves, from the Institute of Cancer Research, has amassed 30 years of evidence to show the immune system can become cancerous if it does not “see” enough bugs early in life.

It means it may be possible to prevent the disease.

Combined Events

The type of blood cancer is more common in advanced, affluent societies, suggesting something about our modern lives might be causing the disease.

There have been wild claims linking power cables, electromagnetic waves and chemicals to the cancer.

That has been dismissed in this work published in Nature Reviews Cancer.

Instead, Prof Greaves – who has collaborated with researchers around the world – says there are three stages to the disease.

The first is a seemingly unstoppable genetic mutation that happens inside the womb. Then a lack of exposure to microbes in the first year of life fails to teach the immune system to deal with threats correctly.

This sets the stage for an infection to come along in childhood, cause an immune malfunction and leukaemia.

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WHY Do We Do What We Do?


The Little Fighters Cancer Trust focuses on helping the Child with Cancer and the whole Family in a Holistic manner because we realise that the whole family is affected when a child has cancer.

Added to this, there are many vastly different belief paradigms in play as South Africa is such a diverse nation and thus it is important to treat every family according to its individual unique set-up, belief system, knowledge about childhood cancer, accessibility to the internet or other sources of information, accessibility to support, etc.

Many of our Little Fighters come from rural areas and when they get diagnosed with cancer, are immediately transferred to a hospital in a urban area where there is a Paediatric Oncology Ward – most of the time without even being able to go back home to collect any clothing or other basic necessities.

Many of the mothers end up sitting in the hospital beside their child’s bed without a change of clothing, toiletries, food, accommodation, or any kind of support base.

Below is an extract from a study conducted in 2016, most of which still remains relevant today – THIS IS WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO!!! THIS is why we need ongoing funding….

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