September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with the objective to spotlight childhood cancer and survivorship issues related to childhood cancer nationally. Approximately 12,400 Americans under the age of 20 will be diagnosed this year and although survival rates have increased steadily since the 1970′s, the aftereffects of treatment continue to be a major hurdle to overcome. LIVESTRONG has funded programs and created information specific to children affected by cancer. Below are just a few examples:
Living with Cancer: Advocating for Your Child’s Educational Needs:
For children with cancer and their parents, returning to school builds hope for the future. Attending school is a big part of feeling normal and productive. Yet, going back to school also brings new challenges to families whose main focus has been getting through treatment. LIVESTRONG and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, through a national partnership, have created resources addressing the educational needs of children and adolescents with cancer.
Thanks to a LIVESTRONG 3-Year Evolution Community Grant, SuperSibs! expanded their Sibling STAR Program (Support Training Awareness and Recognition) to develop and provide bi-lingual (Spanish/English) sibling-survivorship program materials and coaching to 170 pediatric oncology hospitals and 15 national cancer organizations where sibling support resources are limited or non-existent. Now, halfway through this program, SuperSibs! support has grown from serving 7,500 siblings and their families, to now over 17,500, including a 1% increase in Hispanic/Latino sibling referrals and families in the program. This effort is closing the glaring survivorship support gap for this underserved, at-risk sibling community ? to help siblings heal. As a globally recognized nonprofit oncology support organization, SuperSibs! works with professionals, families and the siblings — children and teens ? to ultimately redefine the “cancer sibling” survivorship experience, so they may face the future with strength, courage and hope. SuperSibs! services are free of charge. For ongoing updated online support tools and materials, visit www.supersibs.com and click on the FOR YOU and the SIB SPOT links? or call SuperSibs! at 866-444-SIBS (7427).
Emilio Nares Foundation:
The mission of the Emilio Nares Foundation is to secure the best possible treatment and highest quality of life for children and underserved minorities affected by cancer. ENF provides financial, emotional and logistical support to patients and their families to improve their access to cancer care systems and hospitals within the community. The program will provide transportation services to families whose children are receiving treatment for cancer at the Children’s Hospital of San Diego. ENF plans to expand this service to other hospital units serving cancer patients, including cardiology, rehabilitation and speech and hearing.
LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center at Dell Children’s Hospital
We have learned that many pediatric cancer survivors are at risk for physical and psychological issues related to cancer and its therapy. The radiation, chemotherapy and surgery used to successfully treat childhood cancers may lead to what are called, ?late effects.? These late effects may include emotional problems, second cancers, infertility, learning disabilities and more. The LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center at Dell Children’s address these issues on site daily.
Wonders & Worries:
Founded by child life specialists Meredith Cooper and Melissa Hicks, Wonders & Worries, Inc. provides Austin-area children an outlet to learn and express their feelings about cancer. Young people can be deeply affected when a parent has been diagnosed with cancer, showing changes in behavior, mood, and academic performance. Wonders & Worries provides them comfort and support in learning how to manage the impacts of their parent’s illness. Participants attend a six-week program that includes formalized support groups, individual counseling and recreational group activities so that they can learn to cope with their parent’s illness and openly communicate with loved ones about their feelings.
LIVESTRONG at School:
LIVESTRONG created special lessons for the classroom to address the questions your students have about cancer called LIVESTRONG at School. The lessons form a curriculum that allows students to discuss cancer in a way that is age-appropriate, hopeful, inspiring and empowering. They also provide suggestions for ways students can get involved in their own community.
LIVESTRONG SurvivorCare program:
We provide free, confidential, one-on-one support to anyone affected by cancer including the parents and loved ones of children affected by cancer. Services include emotional support, clinical trial matching, assistance with access to care, medical debt concerns and job discrimination. Services are available in English and Spanish.
Young Adult Alliance Resource Page:
The LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance Resource Page is intended to be a central source of AYA-related cancer information and services available on the Internet. The Resource Page is designed to make it easy for cancer survivors, families, and even health care professionals to locate accurate AYA-related cancer information.