Do you know a child suffering from cancer? Do you know someone who knows a child suffering from cancer? Seems this is a great issue within not only the United States but many other countries as well. I'd like to bring to your attention that for some families there are issues that are associated with having a child with cancer which go beyond the disease itself. There are many children who come from poor/low income families. The lack of financial stability makes it difficult for them the child to receive consistent treatment for their illness, and causes unnecessary stresses for the family and the sick child.
Why am I addressing this topic you ask? Well, anyone who knows anything about Tomaro’s C.H.A.N.G.E. knows that we are interested in any and all issues concerning youth; we are interested in bringing awareness to the people who can possibly make a difference. Poor and low income families with sick children all over this world are in need of some kind of support; bottom line, cancer kills more children than AIDS, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and congenital anomalies put together! We believe that young people should not suffer, by sharing information we hope to bring awareness, and get folks to recognize their strengths and abilities within their communities to make a difference in the life of a sick child.
From Ghana to the United States and beyond, children are limited in the treatment they can receive, the availability to medication, access to transportation and psychological assistance (therapists, etc.). And, these are just a few of the issues that we know of as outsiders looking in; this does not include what the families quietly suffer behind closed doors.
Knowing one family in particular, we have been able to see the ins and outs of what these families go through; what the child goes through, and how the outside world could never begin to understand….if they care at all.
Some of the issues to consider include:
Parents have greater symptoms of:
Siblings with cancer might:
Children with cancer may (depending on age and maturity level):
Some data suggests that approximately 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer each year just in the United States; currently about 35,000 are in treatment, and somewhere around 25% of children diagnosed with cancer die. Knowing what was just shared, think about this….based on stats from 2012, there were approximately 16.1 million poor children in the United States, with more than seven million living in extreme poverty. Keeping that number in mind, of those children a number of them have either been diagnosed or will be diagnosed with cancer; the possibility of them and their families experiencing many of the previously discussed issues is great. And please, do not get me wrong; many of what has been mentioned previously are issues that all families experience. Regardless of financial status, cancer is cancer and hurts all families just the same! Sadly, poor families are simply unable to get adequate assistance; based on actual interviews we have found that children from low income families do not receive the same resources and services as those who do not come from low income families. Any family with sick children suffer a great deal; adding poverty to the list of issues only enhances their struggles. So I ask, what is the solution?
From experience, I can tell you that it is not easy to watch a family go through such a difficult time. It is not easy to get to know a child, to grow to love him knowing that there is nothing you can do to ease his physical and psychological pain. It is not easy to look into the eyes of a mother and tell her that everything will be okay when you really don’t know what the outcome will be. It is that much more difficult when the family’s resources, both financial and social, are practically nonexistent.
There is not an instruction guide that dictates to us on how to work with, live with and love and care for a sick child, or on how to comfort their family; however, there are things that we can do. Take some pointers from Mr. Richard Nares (below). Do some research, check out the local organizations in your area, find a way to get involved and do what you can to make a difference in the life of a sick child!
It takes a village to raise a child…..
Mrs. Tomaro M. Pilgrim, MS