MiNDFOOD is a proud supporter of the World Child Cancer Charitable Trust (WCCCT).
Every week 2000 children worldwide die from cancer. 80% of children worldwide diagnosed with childhood cancer have limited or no access to treatment.
The WCCCT was established in 2010 in response to the overwhelming need for help in the Pacific to correctly diagnose and treat children with cancer. Prior to 2006 only 50 percent of children with cancer in the Pacific (Tonga, Fiji and Samoa) were being diagnosed each year and of those, just 20 percent received chemotherapy. Issues with treatment toxicity, treatment compliance and abandonment of therapy all contributed to a zero percent survival rate in all three countries. There was a lack of health professional training and expertise in treating children with cancer, but there was however a great opportunity to do something to save the lives of some of these children.
‘Childhood cancer is very curable even in resource-poor countries.’ Says Jane Skeen, Specialist Medical Officer from the Blood and Cancer Centre at Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland. ‘It is possible to save the lives of many of these children with treatment and procedures that have been known to doctors for decades.’ This is done via ‘twinning’ a network of international hospitals and volunteer specialists with teams on the ground. ‘The great thing about this is not only do we provide access to expert treatment, we also help build local knowledge.’
In the Pacific, in collaboration with Auckland’s Starship Blood and Cancer Centre and the Children’s Hematology Oncology Centre in Christchurch, the WCCCT works with doctors and nurses in Tonga, Fiji and Samoa to share the knowledge and procedures which have contributed to an 80 percent survival rate of childhood cancer in New Zealand.
A SUCCESS STORY
Seven years ago Kiu Latuhoi was diagnosed with Lymphonia cancer when he was six years old. He had a lump on his neck and it kept getting bigger. After a series of x-rays the samples were sent to New Zealand, where after testing it was decided he was an ideal candidate to send to Starship in Auckland for treatment. His mum, Sioana Suka Napaa didn’t go with him as ‘I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t stand watching him in bed.’ So his grandmother went instead, for four months. When they came back home after struggling for life, he was a strong boy, after treatment and chemo. ‘I am the
When they came back home after struggling for life, he was a strong boy, after treatment and chemo. ‘I am the most happiest mother in the world.’ Says Sioana. ‘It was hard with me here, calling them all the time, following up on the treatment. They stayed at my cousins place, when he went to Auckland and the treatment continued two years once they returned to Tonga. Chemo took six months and then Kiu had check-ups every week for a year, and then after that year, it was every month. Sioana says she can’t forget the long treatment and suffering, ‘I will never forget, it was a very hard fight, it was a struggle.’ Out of all those cancer friends that died and passed away, it started to make her ‘be sad and dragged me down, thinking my son might be one of them, and die also.’ But that wasn’t the case. Kiu wants to be an aeroplane engineer when he grows up, ‘He’s like a carpenter, an active little person, so creative sometimes, he’s a special boy.’