It is difficult for any parent to imagine their child with cancer, but to actually experience this reality can be traumatic and for this reason the Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa was formed.
CHOC spokesperson Linda Moore addressed members of the Household Consumers League at the recent meeting at the James Sadie Library Auditorium in Bedfordview.
She related many poignant accounts of her experiences with the organisation, among these sharing about the beads CHOC provided to children to make a special necklace commemorating their unique and courageous journey. “They are given a bead with each treatment or medical milestone,” she said. She said parents and families were cared for and that Christmas time was celebrated with great zeal by the CHOC team, with each child receiving a gift and special acknowledgement. Moore believes that despite a cancer diagnosis, there is a high chance of full recovery in children living with cancer if the cancer is detected early enough.
She gave the following warning signs to take note of in your child:
1. Eye changes – a white spot in the eye. New Squint, new blindness or bulging eyeball.
2. Lump – Abdomen and pelvis, head and neck, limbs, testes and glands.
3. Unexplained symptoms– Prolonged fever, for over two weeks, loss of weight, pallor,
fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding.
4. Aching – Bones and joints, or back, and easy fractures.
5. Neurological signs – Change or deterioration in walk, balance or speech,
headache for more than a week with or without vomiting, enlarging head.
If you detect any of the warning signs in your child contact your nearest treatment centre or SMS the name of your province to 34486. A CHOC representative will contact you shortly thereafter.
There is also a toll-free helpline: 0800 333 555 that sisters and doctors at the primary healthcare clinics can call (hosted at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital) for advice on whether to refer the child for further investigation and to which unit.
The Gauteng offices of CHOC are in need of the following:
– Food parcels for parents when they return home.
– Refreshments for the parents and children at the day clinics (about 40 per day).
– Special spoils for the in-patients children ie birthdays, sweets for finger prick, etc.
– Donations of any kind. These will be sold in bulk. Please drop off your donation at 16 Eastwold Way, Saxonwold or phone the office on 011 486 1212 for collection.