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So Anyways, Childhood Cancer


Just exactly how do we get the average person like you and the politicians and the corporations and the pharmaceutical companies who control the research funding to take creative ownership of the childhood cancer epidemic in this country? Because make no mistake about it… it is an epidemic!

Tom Mitchell is the founder and director of Stillbrave Childhood Cancer Foundation. Affectionately known as “Tattoo Tom” by the children and families whom he serves. He is also a nationally recognized activist and advocate for children with cancer and their families.

Following the death of his daughter Shayla in 2009 from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Tom dedicated his entire life to providing non-medical support to children with cancer and their families. He’s also committed to raising awareness of the need for more research funding and safer, less toxic treatments for children with cancer.

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Why I Don’t Believe in #MandelaDay


Right! So now that this controversial headline has got your attention… please read on as to why….

Today the World is celebrating the Madiba Centenary – the theme of this year’s Mandela Day Celebrations is meant to reflect on the legacy of Madiba by cementing a culture of volunteerism. The hashtag for this year is #actionagainstpoverty.

There are so many initiatives again this year, such as the “Initiative to feed millions for Mandela Day” being run by Pick ‘n Pay and FoodForward South Africa, the aim of which would be to collect 250 tonnes of food over three days to provide over a million meals…

This is all good and well, and well done to them, BUT…

I liked and respected Nelson Mandela, but I do not believe in “Mandela Day” or “16 Days of Activism to oppose Violence Against Women” or any of those “annual commemorative movements” or whatever one wishes to call them and this is why….

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Losing a Child is Painful


crying is a releaseThe loss of a child is probably the most painful experience any parent can endure.

July is International Bereaved Parents Awareness Month and during this time the Little Fighters Cancer Trust would like to remember and reach out to all those parents who have lost their children to Cancer.

The loss of a child is the most inconsolable of losses; It violates the natural order of things. Here at LFCT we unfortunately see too many parents face this devastating loss, and it breaks our hearts every time we do, but even we cannot really say that we know what they are feeling.

International Bereaved Parents Awareness Month is a time to reach out to bereaved parents and their families by giving them someone who will listen to them without trying to give them advice as to how to feel or act; someone to just “be there” for them, to give them a shoulder to cry on or a hug if they need it, or to just let them talk…

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New Hope for Fatal Childhood Brain Cancer (DIPG)?


Brain tumours are hard to treat. But even this is a harrowing understatement for some forms of the disease.

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is one such example. These rare brain tumours almost exclusively affect children, and they’re invariably fatal.

Almost all children with DIPG sadly die within a couple of years of diagnosis,” says Professor Chris Jones from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, a Cancer Research UK-funded expert on the disease.

There aren’t any effective treatments.”

One of the main reasons that the outlook for DIPG is so poor is down to where it grows in the brain. These tumours start in the brainstem, which lies at the base of the brain and hooks up the spinal cord with deeper brain regions. This crucial piece of machinery controls many of the body’s vital processes, such as breathing and our heart beat.

That means surgery – a cornerstone treatment for many cancers – is out of the question. Drugs are also notoriously ineffective for brain tumours, because most are shut out by the protective blood brain barrier.

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Can Spider Silk Boost our Immune Systems?


New research showcases an innovative method of delivering vaccines straight to our white blood cells, strengthening the immune system against cancer and serious infections.

Immunotherapy, which is a widely used form of treatment against cancer, boosts the body’s immune system in the fight against tumors.

Immunotherapy works primarily with T cells, which are a type of white blood cell, or lymphocyte.Largely, our immune systems rely on B lymphocytes, which are active in a variety of infections, and T lymphocytes which must be activated when combating cancer or more serious infections such as tuberculosis.

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Real Food Recipes for your Child with Cancer


Switching from cans of soup or casseroles to fresh, real ingredients can be a fun challenge, and right now is the perfect time to swop processed crackers and snacks for fruit, homemade smoothies and yoghurts.

Not only will you ALL all feel better; your blood sugar will stop plummeting daily, you will all be more regular, and you may even lose a few pounds – your children will also learn to be adventurous eaters, and be SO MUCH HEALTHIER for it!

When your Little Fighter craves comfort-food, have childhood favourites “real-foodified” at the ready and in your freezer. When they have no appetite, make sure you have nutrient-dense soups and smoothies for them to sip all day. Even a Peanut Butter Sandwich with jam or honey is very beneficial.

Make overnight slow-cooker broth, muffins and quick breads, smoothies, and homemade coffee creamer to treat yourself as tired parents/caregivers….

While they may have cupcakes and sweets from friends as well as other “fun food” at numerous parties when they can go back to school – it is what is fed at home that makes the biggest difference in your child’s attitude toward nutrition and that way they won’t be robbed of the learning experiences that come with eating “sometimes foods.”

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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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Child Cancer Diagnosis – What I Wish I Knew


What do you do when you receive the shocking and unwelcome news that your child has cancer? What do you need? How do you handle it?

What do you do or say when the child of a friend has been diagnosed with cancer? How do you support them best?

What do you say and what should you never, never, EVER say to the parent of a child with cancer?

It is difficult to know what to say even to an adult who has been diagnosed with cancer, let alone to a child or the parent of a child with cancer…

The following was written by the mother of a child with cancer to let everyone know how she felt and what is cool and what is not cool to say to someone whose child has cancer… we hope that it will be of some help to those who have just heard that a friend or family member’s child has just been diagnosed with cancer and the family is about to face the battle of their lives….

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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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Little Miss & Mr Winelands 2018


On Saturday night Lizelma and I were privileged to attend the Little Miss & Mr Winelands 2018 Competition as the Little Fighters Cancer Trust was the beneficiary on the night, and what a wonderful, sparkling, professional, fun evening it was.

Young ladies and gentlemen from all over the Winelands took part and strutted their stuff on the stage – we were just very pleased that we were not asked to be judges as they had an enormous task ahead of them – but they acquitted themselves very well.

It was such fun to watch the little ones, the young ladies were all decked out in their finest gowns and the gentlemen were decked out in their fines too, bow ties and all [ Lizelma wanted to take one or two home with her…. 😉 ]

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