Kidzcan cannot do it alone! When we joined the Jenny Calderwood walk (a fund raising event organised by Peter House Groups of Schools), to me it was a fun filled day. After all, I had a couple of extra kilos to shade off. However, it got to a point where the crowd spaced out, and the people walked individually, with those of us, who couldn’t endure the distance and the terrain remaining far behind. Some had to be carried through, with a few wanting to give up and make it back to the starting line. At least I arrived in time for the closing remarks.
So is the journey for the children with cancer. Sometimes the pain is unbearable, though some are able to endure, a few fight to the end. Sometimes it becomes more intense towards the finishing line. However, children with cancer have been able to endure because of the persons, institutions, sponsors and donors around them.
Kidzcan envisions a compassionate world where children with cancer are given the chance to lead healthy and fulfilling lives and throughout the years, the organisation has seen more than 1800 children registered in our data base, 330 who lost the fight to cancer, 466 are still receiving care and support, and two are on remission. However, there are some that we have lost contact with, because when the disease becomes too advanced, some go back home on palliative care and never return again. Kidzcan continues to make follow up for children who do not come back, the organisation makes direct phone calls to check how they are coping. Some have died at home without adequate pain management drugs.
Throughout the years and with the support Kidzcan gets from our sponsors and donors (both individuals and corporates), we have managed to spend $ 260 960.91 on Chemotherapy Drugs, $ 291 306 on Diagnostic Imaging, $ 112 912 on Laboratory Tests, $ 140 700 on Blood and Blood Products, $ 32 688 for Transport assistance for children with cancer and their parents/care givers, $ 14 281 on Prosthetics and $ 3 820 for Nutritional Support. It is pleasing to note that only 6-7% of the total budget goes to administration and overhead. Within the months of June to August 2015, a total number of 204 children with cancer received support from Kidzcan. The following services were offered to the children with cancer, 1138 chemotherapy and other drugs, 51 blood and blood products, 66 diagnostic imaging, 127 laboratory tests, and 126 transport assistance. This is with the realisation that some children get the services continuously. Within the 3 months 23 of our little heroes and heroines lost the fight to cancer.
With more demand for Kidzcan services, the organisation has developed a new strategy (Kidzcan Strategy for Care and Support of Paediatric Oncology in Zimbabwe 2015-2018) that will guide and guard the scope and magnitude of the services the organisation offers as it grows in capacity as well as boundaries. Taking cognisance that, Kidzcan is the only organisation in the country offering paediatric cancer care and support services, identifying the scope and mandate demands that this new strategy plan be shared with all our sponsors and donors.
Through Love, Empathy, Integrity and Inclusivity, every child with cancer registered with Kidzcan has had the same attention given to the other.
Total Funding Goal Raised Funding $40 529.23
Total Disbursed to date $ 33 593.65
It is when we share our stories that we are able to reflect on our journey. Kidzcan has many friends and today we want to tell them how much they have made the winter nights as bearable as they could and the pain from cancer as endurable as it may be for children with cancer. The care and support from people who are concerned by the welfare of the children with cancer, has prolonged life for a child, given to another a smile and the ability to see the light of the next day. To the other, legs to walk to school and to many children, pain management drugs, so that they can spend most of their time playing, learning and out of bed, rather than in bed and seeing the world through a window.
It’s been a while since us, as Kidzcan shared what we have been doing and how the children with cancer have been doing. In Zimbabwe Chemotherapy drugs are very expensive and very challenging to source. Diagnostics services are also challenging within the Public Sector, and Private Diagnostic Services are very expensive and unaffordable to many. Specialised Cancer Services are accessible at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, which is the only Hospital that has a Paediatric Oncology Ward dedicated to treating children with cancer. Parirenyatwa A4 Special Ward is overwhelmed with patients referred from all provinces of the country (sometimes further than 600km). It is a long and agonising process for a child with cancer to access Specialised Services. Kidzcan has narrowed the processes by providing transport fees for the children with cancer and their care givers. The organisation also pays for Specialised Diagnostics Services from Private Centres, sources and provides Chemotherapy drugs among other things. MRI costs $ 1000 and a CT scan cost $500 from Private Centres. Chemotherapy drugs costs between $60-$320 per protocol. Some children have been on treatment more than 4 years.
In the last three months, 51 new patients were registered with Kidzcan for aid, 131 were been admitted in A4 Special Ward, 270 assisted with Chemotherapy Drugs, 80 with Blood Disorders Drugs, 50 with Specialised Diagnostic Services and 57 have been assisted with transport locally and internationally and Kidzcan met the bills. Kudakwashe (5 years) suffers from Xeroderma Pigmentosum. He travels with his mother to South Africa for Corrective Operative Treatment. He is the 4th born in a family of 4. His older sister passed away from the same condition and his mother is very concerned about his health. He has been unwell for some time. Kidzcan has worked extremely hard to make it possible for Kudakwashe to access care and treatment. He has been unable to eat because of the pain and had lost so much weight. On Friday the 6th of June Kudakwashe visited our office all the way back from South Africa. He was a happy and smiling boy, very much playful with a good appetite. He kept nudging his mum to buy him chips and he informed me that he would not share his chips with anyone. Kidzcan is also happy to announce that, two of the children with cancer are now on remission after successful treatment.
Michelle is 15 years now. She has been getting assistance from Kidzcan since 4 years ago. She was given a prosthetic leg and she walks on crutches since 2012. However,she has grown and the prosthetic leg needed to be replaced as she was finding it difficult to walk. Finally, another prosthetic leg and crutches were sourced and bought for her on the 29th of May 2015 by Kidzcan. Asked on how she feels about the new look, Michelle said she is very proud of her new height, gait and stature.
Total Funding Goal Raised Funding $38,151.13
Total Funding to date $ 31,621.95
Remaining Goal Funding $ 6,529.18
Story of Michael
My name is Michael. I am 18 years old. I am an orphan. I stay in Warren Park with grandmother and grandfather. My grandparents do not work. In May 2014, I noticed a swelling growth on my belly. If I ate food I felt the pain in my stomach. I told my granny and she told me to go to the local clinic. I went to the clinic and they referred me to Parirenyatwa Hospital.
On arrival to Parirenyatwa Hospital I was registered with Kidzcan Zimbabwe an organization which supports children with cancer. I went through all scans and laboratories tests which were paid by Kidzcan. My doctor told me that I had cancer called Hodgkins Lymphoma. I was shocked but I told my mind that I will get through this. I started my treatment cycle with the support from Kidzcan. I thank Kidzcan today because they paid all the chemotherapy drugs which are very expensive to purchase. I am on the 8th cycle of my treatment and am doing well.
I wrote my Advanced Level and passed with good points. I wrote my ‘A’ Level going through chemotherapy but I managed to pass. I am planning to study Law and I want to be an Advocate to the voiceless. Thank you Kidzcan Zimbabwe for the support you showed to me. Please keep on doing the great job. Thanks to Kidzcan, cancer is curable. Kidzcan has given me hope of my future.
Dear Friends of Kidzcan,
To end of an incredibly challenging yet rewarding 2014 we want to honour our heroes.
We are witness to them regularly at Kidzcan. On the wards, in the form of a doctor, a nurse, a member of Parirenyatwa staff, a young patient, a caregiver, a volunteer. Off the ward they are people who selflessly share their expertise, contacts, business services and goods, money, time, to give children “the right to the fight” to survive cancer.
What exactly is a hero? Searching online, this particular definition found on www.hero-central.com seemed apt: “A hero: An individual, organization, or entity that is motivated by a shared sense of the public good, who takes responsibility for the life and circumstances of those around them, and whose actions or efforts improve the circumstances of others and defends against hostile forces, regardless of risk to self and without thought of personal gain.”
The children struggling to survive cancer always remain our greatest of heroes, but in addition, this year alone our heroes have included among them:
We are truly grateful to all the heroes who “try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” (Maya Angelou)
We thank you. Happy Holidays.
Kidzcan has had an exciting quarter! One of the most exciting happenings is that Media Matrix produced a short film to show case our work. We hope to raise awareness and funding through this film. If you have not yet seen it please click on the following link, watch, like and share with your network: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76fkoZE4yAc
On the funding side Kidzcan was awarded a two year grant from ELMA Philanthropies and we had our first Spring Ball at the Glass house which raised over $30, 000!
In brief here’s where we are at from May –August 2014:
We thank you for your continued support of the work we do in ensuring that children are given the right to the fight to survive cancer.
Bev Sebastian & the Kidzcan Team
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