Cancer treatments can have devastating effects on young children. Macey is still young & on treatment, so we don’t know yet what the long-term effects may be for her. But most survivors (75%) face a lifetime of health problems – be it kidney, heart, digestive, hearing, vision, mobility, learning or psychological issues.
The sad truth is that surviving childhood cancer comes at an enormous cost — to the child, the family & the health care system. The costs are emotional, physical and financial and with about 30,000 survivors living in Canada today, we need to find another way.
Unlike adult cancers, we do not know why children get cancer.
We need research to understand the origins of this disease & we need research to develop new treatments that save children’s lives without the devastating side effects.
In Canada today, only 3% of all cancer research funding goes to children’s cancer research. And, in the last 40 years, only 3 new cancer drugs have been developed specifically for children.
Let me tell you about some of the research your gift will support. Dr. Aru Narendran is investigating high-risk cancers like Macey’s. He is the lead scientist in 3 phase-one clinical trials that are testing 3 promising pediatric cancer drugs. If they live up to their potential, these drugs could lead to a cure for kids who currently have no hope of surviving.
Little Macey is fighting high-risk leukemia and three years of high-dose chemotherapy has been hard on Macey and her parents, Caitlin & Josh Bangsund. There have been many sleepless nights, fevers, illness, infections, tears, worry & isolation. Macey’s brothers Hudson & Sawyer have showed such maturity & such compassion for their little sister. More than once Hudson has said, “I wish it was me who was sick instead of Macey.” What a sweet little boy. But Hudson is still only 6 and being away from Mom, while Macey has been in the hospital, has been tough.
While the Bangsund children are maturing quickly & developing remarkable resilience at such a young age, our Camp & Outreach programs rebuild their spirits & show them it’s okay to be a kid & have fun – even during their family’s cancer crisis.
Because 40% of kids like Macey, who survive acute lymphoblastic leukemia face neuropsychological problems – memory, cognition, judgement, attention & concentration issues – our Education Support Program helps them get a strong foundation in school. When Macey graduates from high school, we’ll be there to offer her a scholarship to a post-secondary school of her choice, so she can get a good job and have a good life.