Hello from Andrea Whatman,
It is such a privilege to be part of all that Kidzcan is, and I am personally blown away by the doctors and medical staff I work with, the people I have met through the work, and, always, the patients. The success of the third year of our Education and Outreach Programme highlighting early detection of childhood cancers has resulted in an increase in the number of new patients we are providing services. Since January of this year, 220 NEW patients have been diagnosed and treated. That is in addition to the patients we continue to provide assistance to in the form of drugs, transport, follow-up testing, and blood products, who had been diagnosed in previous years. And, we can confidently say that this increase is attributable to the workshops we have been carrying out.
This year alone, Kidzcan has held 23 workshops in 14 locations throughout Zimbabwe. We have reached more than 1,000 participants - both within the formal medical sector through hospitals, and in the traditional medical practitioner community. This education programme has accessed widespread areas of Zimababwe. More places have been reached, and as such, more people now know what to look for and where to send the children. They also know the services Kidzcan can offer patients who need the assistance, and can let families know there is help out there for them.
As a result, Kidzcan is able to offer real hope to children that previously might not have been diagnosed, or had been diagnosed, but given no treatment because it was out of reach for the family financially. This is wonderful and ground breaking. It is ensuring diagnosis and treatment for children with cancer in Zimbabwe.
It also means we need to put more effort in to ensure we can meet the needs of these patients. Along with the increased number of patients who reach Parirenyatwa Hospital for diagnosis and treatment, comes extra pressure on the ward - both in terms of actual beds available and demands on staff. This also impacts on Kidzcan’s demands - resulting in increased costs to provide more diagnostic tests, lab tests and the life-saving drugs to patients. We are meeting those demands, but are feeling the stretch.
It is because of donors like you that we are able to grow in order to provide the services to an increased number of patients as they present themselves. With the programme extending to the Matebeleland area by the end of the year, we will expect to see a further increase of newly registered children with cancer come onto the ward. An increase of newly diagnosed patients is what we are seeking. It is why we formed Kidzcan. We cannot, and will not, put the genie back into his bottle. God has made a way for Kidzcan for many years in an environment that was not conducive to thriving. If we could do it under those circumstances, we can continue to do it in the face of increased demand. Kidzcan is the sum-total of many generous hearts and the personal sacrifice of individuals - not only financially, but also, the most precious of commodities - time.
Don’t ever underestimate your specific and individual support, whether it be prayer, encouragement, donations-in-kind, or finances. We simply could not do anything without your input. Hold Kidzcan close in your prayers and hearts, and know that we remain totally committed to children surviving childhood cancer here in Zimbabwe.
Sincerely, Andrea Whatman, Executive Director