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Importance of Identifying the Early Warning Signs

for children and teenagers who may have cancer

In a small hospital room, a five-month old child lay, surrounded by worried parents. The child’s stomach bore the weight of a rapidly growing mass on its right side. The parents had noticed the change and rushed their little one to the hospital.

The doctors performed a biopsy and running tests. Their suspicions were confirmed: a Malignant Rhabdoid Tumour had taken root in the child’s abdomen. It was a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

The parents held strong beliefs in traditional medicine and hoped it would aid their child’s recovery.

They pleaded with surgeons to remove only the tumour and stabilise their little one.

Despite being informed of the risks, they committed to taking responsibility for healing their child post-surgery. The mother, a traditional healer, and the father, a pharmacist, believed they were bewitched and that their child’s condition was a result of witchcraft.

Following the successful tumour removal, a grim reality emerged. The child not only had the tumour but also suffered from a severe infection affecting multiple organs — the brain, liver, kidneys, and heart. His condition deteriorated rapidly, leading to sepsis in the lungs and blood, ultimately resulting in cardiac arrest. Despite resuscitation efforts, the child’s organs failed to fully recover, and the doctors concluded that further interventions would be futile.

Tragically, the child passed away in the critical care ward. The devastated family had hoped their traditional methods would help him recover. They received psychosocial support and bereavement counselling during this difficult time. The father expressed gratitude for the compassionate care provided by CHOC, particularly from the Psychosocial Team. He pledged to stay connected with other families affected by childhood cancer, navigating life after loss.

This heartbreaking case underscores the critical importance of recognising the Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. When symptoms persist, seeking prompt medical attention can significantly improve outcomes and potentially save lives. CHOC offers valuable resources and information to empower parents and caregivers in identifying suspicious symptoms and seeking timely medical help.

To learn more about the Childhood Cancer Early Warning Signs and how they can make a difference, visit CHOC’s website: Childhood Cancer Early Warning Signs.

Early detection can be the first step towards effective treatment and better outcomes for children and teenagers facing cancer.

Refer a child or teen here


Embracing Diversity and Making a Difference 

A Teacher’s Journey

I’m Abigail Evert, a 25-year-old Grade 1 English teacher from South Africa and I proudly call Budapest my home. Since the end of 2021, I’ve been teaching through the Bilingual Program in a charming school outside of Budapest. Let me tell you, it’s been quite an adventure!

One of the things I cherish most about my job is the opportunity to open up the world to my students. Through the Bilingual Programme, we’re not just teaching lessons; we’re sharing cultures, traditions, and experiences. It’s a beautiful exchange that enriches both teacher and student alike.

From Halloween to St. Patrick’s Day, Pancake Day to Valentine’s Day, we’ve been on a whirlwind tour of celebrations from around the globe. But one event holds a special place in our hearts at our school: Flip Flop Day. Now in its second year, this tradition is more than just a fun day; it’s a symbol of hope and solidarity.

It all started with my dear friend Jessica Tait, who, despite facing her own battles with childhood cancer, shared the magic of Flip Flop Day with her students at her school in Budapest 4 years ago. Inspired by her courage and determination, I knew I had to carry on the tradition.

And so, with enthusiasm and a heart full of purpose, I asked my fellow Bilingual teachers to join me in supporting the CHOC, an organisation dedicated to helping children and teenagers facing cancer and life-threatening blood disorders.

We sold stickers on Flip Flop Day, wore blue to show our support, and educated our students about the incredible work of the CHOC. The responses were overwhelming as together, across six classes, we raised R4000!

But more than the money raised, it was the spirit of unity, love, and compassion that filled our school that day. From the excitement of students coming to school in flip flops to the heartfelt conversations about making a difference, it was a day we’ll never forget.

So here’s to Flip Flop Day, to Jessica, to every teacher who joined in, and to the beautiful souls who remind us every day that a little kindness goes a long way. As we eagerly await the next chapter in 2025, we’ll continue to educate our children on all that happens in the World.

And to my fellow teachers – Jessica, Jené, Devon, Nqobile, Victoria, Lana, Ashley, Jessie, and Zahra – thank you for your unwavering dedication and for making a difference in the lives of our students and beyond. You’re all an inspiration and someone that our classes look up to.

With love and gratitude,

Abigail Evert

 

  


Cape Town Cycle Tour and Two Oceans Marathon

We had a fantastic turnout for both events this year. At the Cape Town Cycle Tour, over 20 riders hit the streets for CHOC, gaining attention as Ethan Simpson completed the race as the youngest person ever to ride a unicycle. Their efforts raised over R65,000 for our cause, showcasing their amazing dedication always.

At the Two Oceans Marathon, we had 10 Cows running the Ultra and 30 participating in the half marathon. While awaiting the final fundraising totals, we estimate around R40,000 raised from entry sales and individual fundraisers. If you would like to be a part of this AMOOZING race with the herd in 2025 send Daisy an email to be added to the waiting list as entries sell out faster than Gerda Steyn’s Two Oceans Record!

In other meadows

A group of brave cows took on the challenge of the 5km Goxhill Lake Cold Open Water Swim in the KZN Midlands. Despite the chilly water, our crazy moos powered through with big smiles on their faces.

Meanwhile, at the aQuelle Tour Durban, our herd was out in full force, representing across all age groups. Our dedicated Cow Sweeps ensured that even the last two lady cyclists made it home safely in the scorching heat.

Eli, who cycled with his mom Kjersti, dedicated his ride to his big brother Axel, a childhood cancer survivor, and for his auntie and all the children at CHOC. With his bestie, Fezile Bhengu, cheering him on, nothing was going to stop him.

A big thank you to all the schools who manned the many water stations on route. Your spirit and encouragement kept the cyclists going, super job!!

Special thanks to CMH Nissan Ballito for their incredible support at the Umdloti water station, keeping our herd hydrated and motivated! 

Congratulations to each and every one of you for your incredible efforts, for representing the Herd and keeping more than hope alive.

Coming up

The Comrades Marathon is happening on the 9th of June 2024 and our herd is bigger than ever!

Currently, we have 320 runners signed up, having raised over R900,000 to date. With three weeks remaining for runners to reach their R6,000 targets and qualify for the CC seeding batch, we anticipate surpassing the million mark very soon. Our target for 2024 is R2million and we know our super herd will do their utmost to achieve this! We are always looking for volunteers to assist at our two water stations on race day so if you are in and around Durban or Pietermaritzburg and want to join in the fun and cheer the runners on, pop Daisy an email today!

Join our Herd!


The beginning of CHOC

It all began with a simple need: a kettle, some toys for the little ones, and a fridge. The modest origins of CHOC belie the incredible journey that followed, spurred by a handful of mothers pondering, “What can we do?”

Wards 294 and 286 at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital stand as havens for children diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders. Picture a typical Monday morning in 2020: bustling wards, dedicated staff, and a visiting clown crafting whimsical balloon shapes for the young patients.

These spaces burst with vibrant hues. Caregivers have their own sanctuary, equipped for brewing comforting beverages or preparing special meals. Despite the clinical setting, CHOC has infused the wards with warmth and cheer, transforming them into inviting sanctuaries. Contrast this with 1979, when the children’s cancer ward transitioned from the Transvaal Memorial Institute to the newly minted Johannesburg General Academic Hospital, now known as the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, characterised by its clinical austerity.

But that was just the beginning of a remarkable journey…

To spread hope, follow us on the social media platforms below

    

Our mailing address is: CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation 45 Homestead Road The Avenues Office Park Syringa Building Rivonia 2128

Email: [email protected] Tel: 086 111 3500

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