By Kyle Basicker, Health Education Intern
September 1st marks the 29th anniversary of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. During the month of September, the entire nation comes together to honor and raise awareness for children and families affected by childhood cancer.
What exactly is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? The objective of this cancer awareness campaign is to put an emphasis on the types of cancer that affect children, survivorship issues, and most importantly to help raise funds for both research and family support. Through research, pediatric cancer death rates have declined by nearly 70% over the past four decades!
The most common types of cancer found in children are acute lymphocytic leukemia, central nervous system (CNS) tumors, and neuroblastoma. Together, all these cancers account for more than half of new cases in 2017.
What is the impact of childhood cancer?
- This year alone, over 15,000 children/adolescents under the age of 19 will be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S.
- In Indiana, approximately 364 new cases of childhood cancer (ages 0-19) will be diagnosed in 2019.
How can you show your support during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?
Donate to your local cancer agencies such as Little Red Door. As a non-profit organization, Little Red Door serves thousands of people a year and could not do so without the generosity of multiple partners, donors, and volunteers. Little Red Door serves adults and youth affected by cancer. The agency provides transportation for youth to treatment and provides children anywhere in their cancer journey with a summer camp experience, offering four different camps, called Camp Little Red Door. We offer a week-long overnight summer camp, a week-long day camp at Little Red Door, and a family camp twice a year for families of children who’ve been affected by cancer.
Studies show siblings are one of the best support systems for children with cancer and Little Red Door is one of the only camps with the capacity to enable children to invite their siblings. Elise, a former camp member stated, “I just hope that every kid who has cancer would be able to have a camp like this because it will change their life for the better.” Over the last five years, Little Red Door has been able to provide 366 children who have a cancer diagnosis with a camp experience.
Volunteer your time. The Little Red Door is always looking for volunteers to help with positions that include the Special Event Staff, Delivering Hope Driver and Door to Wellness Concierge.
Share your experiences. One of the best ways to raise awareness about children’s cancer is to connect to other people affected by the disease. This could be done over the phone, on social media, or even face to face. Connect with families to see what kind of support they need and encourage others in your community to do the same.