Currently, between 800 and 1000 South African children are diagnosed with cancer annually. Those diagnosed face a journey terrifying enough as is – and so it is heartbreaking to know that half of those experiencing childhood cancer in South Africa are never even diagnosed.
The types of cancer found in children often tend to differ from those found in adults. Most of these cancers occur in developing cells found in the blood, bone marrow, kidneys and the nervous system.
The most common cancers in children are acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, brain tumours and lymphoma. A quarter of all cases of childhood cancer are acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and typically occur between the ages of two and four years. Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia begins in bone marrow, spreads to blood cells and then to the organs.
Families of Hope:
Netcells’ own CSI programme – Families of Hope – aims to help poor and disadvantaged families by improving their access to stem cell banking. We sponsor disadvantaged children suffering from stem cell-treatable cancers such as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and other diseases such as sickle cell disease, aplastic anaemia and thalassaemia.
With a one in four chance that full biological siblings will be a genetic match, a stem cell transplant could potentially provide a cure. In this way, we hope to extend the opportunity to families who are faced with life-threatening diseases treatable with stem cells, but who cannot afford to save their baby’s precious stem cells at birth.
How the Netcells Families of Hope programme works:
If a disadvantaged child requires a bone marrow stem cell transplant, and his/her mother is pregnant and expecting a full biological sibling (ie the same father), Netcells will facilitate the collection of the umbilical cord blood at the time of delivery. We will then transport the umbilical cord blood to our laboratory to be processed, tested and stored. Netcells has committed to supporting one family for every 100 cord blood units that are privately banked.
The goals of the Netcells Families of Hope programme are closely aligned with CHOC’s:
“Keeping more than Hope Alive”.
With this in heart, aside from working closely with the cancer foundation, Netcells donates any unutilised funds from the Families of Hope programme to CHOC.
CHOC Childhood Cancer Day asserts that illness or injury should not put childhood on pause. CHOC has paediatric healthcare experts to give children the best chance of growing into healthy and happy adults. As a non-profit healthcare entity, they rely on community support to provide leading-edge care for infants, children and adolescents affected by the pains of childhood cancer.
CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation is the only organisation in South Africa that provides comprehensive countrywide support towards the children and the families of children with cancer and other life-threatening blood disorders.
Without the CHOC foundation, many children, particularly those coming from low-income households and living far away from treatment centres, would not adhere to the necessary but arduous paths of cancer treatment.
Launching for the first time on 14 February 2020, Flip Flop Day is the chance for us South Africans to do what we do best – rally together behind a cause we believe in. Netcells will be proudly kitted in flip flops and wearing badges purchased in support of CHOC. This will be accompanied by a Netcells donation of R R55,789.39 to the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation in aid of their brave work.
You can play your part to! Educate yourself, engage with the topic and Support CHOC as best you can.
We may never be able to walk in the shoes of those fighting childhood cancer, but we can certainly walk in pair of flip flops for a day to show them that we will never back down in the fight against childhood cancer.
Every donation makes a difference!