By Justina Auta
As the world marks the International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD), an NGO, Okapi Children Cancer Foundation, donates cash and calls for early diagnosis and care for children with cancer.
ICCD is annually celebrated on Feb. 15 as a global collaborative campaign to raise awareness about childhood cancer, and to express support for children and adolescents with cancer, survivors and their families.
Kemi Adekanye, Founder of the foundation, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the cash donation was to assist children suffering from cancer at National Hospital, Abuja (NHA).
She said that the essence of the day was to raise more awareness on childhood cancer, as well as support families with financial and emotional support to enable them to care of their children suffering from the disease.
She added that “our mission is to provide that first level support to families of children fighting cancer.
“We let them know that we will support them through the process, emotionally and financially.
“We have been supporting children fighting cancer with financial support and to mark this day, we raised N1.5 million for them and we hope with the support of Nigerians, we can do more.”
Adekanye, therefore, stressed the need for increased awareness on childhood cancer, particularly early detection, which would aide in saving the lives of sufferers.
She explained that “parents need to be aware of early warning signs and be given the necessary support after a cancer diagnosis of a child. Medical personnel also need to be trained adequately as early diagnosis can save lives.
“My advice is to keep hope alive, it is not a death sentence. Cancer can be effectively treated and the child goes on to live a normal life.”
She encouraged parents to seek medical attention for children diagnosed with cancer, rather than self medication or resorting to traditional ways, which usually complicates the disease.
According to WHO, more than 300,000 children from birth to 19 years are diagnosed with cancer worldwide each year.
It indicated that approximately eight in 10 of these children live in low and middle-income countries where their survival rate is often near 20 per cent.
The target goal of the WHO Global Childhood Cancer Initiative is to eliminate all pains and sufferings of children fighting cancer and achieve at least 60 per cent survival for all children diagnosed with the disease around the world by 2030. (NAN)