HomeLocal NewsKidzcan Orange Day of Cancer celebrated

Kidzcan Orange Day of Cancer celebrated

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This week we saw more orange than we have probably seen in a while. Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world to commemorate International Childhood Cancer Day on February 15, by wearing orange in support of Kidzcan Orange Day, honouring children living with cancer.

Kidzcan, an organisation focusing on children cancer relief in Zimbabwe, helped promote this by encouraging primary schools, nursery schools, gyms and companies to wear something orange and donate to the cancer cause in the country.

International Childhood Cancer Day was launched through global organisations, International Society of Paediatric Oncology and the International Confederation of Childhood Cancer Parent Organisations (ICCCPO), “to better educate the public in recognising the early warning signs for childhood cancer” (icccpo.org).

According to the ICCCPO, 175 000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide and eventually about 19 000 die annually. If cancer is detected early enough in children, there is a 70% chance of survival.

Andrea Whatman, founder of Kidzcan Zimbabwe, is a childhood cancer survivor herself, whose aim through the organisation is to raise awareness about childhood cancer and the importance of early detection in saving lives of children with cancer.

Kidzcan is working in collaboration with Parirenyatwa Government Hospital which houses the only paediatric oncology unit in Zimbabwe.

Through the help of volunteers and doctors, Kidzcan offers emotional, spiritual and financial support to families with children suffering with cancer, particularly disadvantaged families.

“We hope to raise funds for our ongoing programme of supplying free chemotherapy drugs and free diagnostic tests to children in Parirenyatwa suffering from cancer,” Whatman said.

Whatman also said this aid included “national awareness and sensitisation campaigns to achieve early detection and a trained volunteer programme to provide art therapy and playtime for children restricted to the hospital”.

In 2011 Kidzcan dealt with 363 children — of which 222 were confirmed to have cancer. The most common types of cancer were Wilms’ tumour, kaporsi sarcoma, sickle cell anaemia and retinoblastoma.

Last year Orange Day raised $23 225 showing that when a community worked together anything was possible.

This year’s campaign has so far been also successful and as the year continues, Kidzcan is concentrating efforts on improving effective treatment for children with cancer while complementing that of early detection workshops.

According to the ICCCPO, to avoid problems in future, it is important to detect cancer symptoms early. These include:

White spot in the eye, squint, blindness, bulging eyeball.

Lump in abdomen/pelvis, head and neck, in limbs, testes and glands

Unexplained prolonged fever for over two weeks

Loss of weight, pallor, fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding

Aching bones, joints, back, and easy fractures

Neurological signs; change or deterioration in walk,
balance, or speech, regression of milestones

Headache for more than two weeks with or without vomiting and enlarging head

“We at Kidzcan believe that every child deserves the ‘right to the fight!’ We believe that kids can survive and there is a future,” Whatman said.

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