TODAY, two families will be told the devastating news that their child (aged 0 – 13) has cancer. By the end of the year, the amount of children living with cancer in Australia would fill Sydney Opera House.
Coinciding with Children’s Cancer Awareness Month (throughout September), Simon Rountree – Chief Executive of children’s cancer charity Camp Quality – states that the “obsession” with finding a cure for cancer is “only half of the battle.”
Simon Rountree said: “Medical cancer breakthroughs are crucial. But, with still no cure, the biggest breakthrough lies within us all. It’s called resilience.
“In my 14 years as Chief Executive of Camp Quality, this is the one word that defines what we do for families who have a child with cancer. In my job, I meet many families living through a total nightmare. Some say that, until their child was diagnosed, they didn’t even realise kids could get cancer. Three quarters of children diagnosed with cancer will survive but, for families living through that uncertain journey now, research and cures can feel out of reach.
“What they urgently need to just face the next day is resilience – and the mental tools that help with that. Medicine and technology are only half the battle.”
“When times seem tough, comparing our struggles to those of a kid with cancer and seeing how they still summon the energy to laugh, is the most poignant lesson of all.”
As of February 2014, the World Health Organisation reported that cancer is now the biggest killer in Australia, overtaking heart disease. Cancer is the biggest killer of children from disease in Australia. 10,000 children are either newly diagnosed, under treatment or in remission.
The majority of childhood cancer survivors will have one or more chronic health, social or developmental challenges as a result of having intense treatment so young. Doctors predict global cancer rates will increase by three-quarters over the next two decades and they expect 20 million new cases by 2025.
Coinciding with Children’s Cancer Awareness month, Camp Quality has launched a new campaign reassuring families who have a child living with cancer that resilience-building support is available – at hospital, at home, at school – and at camp: http://bit.ly/1CoNPQs
It also appeals to the public to support this work, as the charity receives no ongoing government funding.
The charity is marking 30 years of supporting children living with cancer by highlighting the long-term, profound effect that its resilience-building support has had on high-achieving individuals.
Tristan Knowles, OAM and Paralympic gold medal winner for Wheelchair Basketball Australia, was diagnosed with cancer aged 9 and relapsed aged 12, when his leg was amputated. Tristan said: “The power of the mind is absolutely amazing. I was convinced I’d beat cancer a second time.
“Nothing was going to stop me. I think my positive outlook – which Camp Quality helped me with – was crucial in my survival.”
To donate visit http://www.campquality.org.au/donate