September is the gold ribbon month – marked as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The year 2018 marks a 100 years since the birth of our country’s greatest leader, Nelson Mandela. In celebrating his centenary this September, CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA is encouraging all South Africans to continue his legacy of giving hope. “Give Hope, Go Gold” by purchasing the gold satin ribbon which symbolises support for children with cancer, temporary tattoos and other gold merchandise from the online CHOC Store http://www.choc.org.za/shop/ or nearest CHOC offices. The ribbon is to be worn throughout the month of September. This will go a long way in highlighting the disease and give hope to those battling cancer around the world.
CHOC, along with its ambassadors Anga Makubalo, Kenneth Nkosi, Romina Armellini and Phumeza Mdabe will be visiting schools, corporates, radio and television stations around the country to educate the public about childhood cancer and the early warning signs thereof. Join in the fun to paint South Africa gold to give hope to our children.
“Children are our greatest treasure”, Nelson Mandela.
Sadly, according to Childhood Cancer International, childhood cancer continues to be the leading cause of non-communicable related death in children throughout the world. Globally, more than 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year with about 1,000 new cases in South Africa alone. This means that this year , globally, 300,000 parents across all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economic conditions will be hearing the words “your child has cancer”.
Many childhood cancers have high survival rates when diagnosed early. Unfortunately, in South Africa childhood cancers are sometimes picked-up very late or misdiagnosed, meaning that the survival and recovery rate in South Africa is much lower than in developed countries.
Nompilo Jalubane, is a 24 year old mother from Kwa-Zulu Natal who went back and forth to healthcare facilities with her then five year old daughter Mbalenhle. “I did not know children could get cancer. When her left eye got swollen in June 2016, I took her to the clinic every month, but was always given Panado until I argued with the nurses that the Panado was not changing her condition. They told me they knew what they were doing, but I insisted on seeing someone senior who assisted me with a referral letter to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital, where it was found that she had eye cancer, and her eye was so badly damaged it had to be removed. Her brain was also damaged and she was admitted to ICU having difficulty in breathing, “ shares Nompilo.
The encouraging news is that childhood cancer is mostly curable with the overall survival rate reaching between 70% and 80% in developed countries, whereas in South Africa the rate of recorded cases is only at about 55% – mainly due to lack of awareness and late diagnosis. Early diagnosis is critical and can only be achieved through creating awareness about childhood cancer not only to parents but also communities and health care systems, which is why CHOC has an extensive and national awareness programme
The early warning signs of childhood cancer are on our website and also in leaflets available from CHOC. CHOC’s Awareness Programme trains healthcare workers, traditional healers, and communities in detecting these vital early warning signs. To date CHOC has trained 22,041 people since the CHOC awareness training and education programme started in 2011.
Support Childhood Cancer Month – ‘Give Hope, Go gold’ so the future of South Africa our precious children is not to be compromised. For more information about CHOC, join the CHOC Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/CHOC-Childhood-Cancer-Foundation-SA/1519454698270658