11 SepSeptember is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
September represents childhood cancer awareness month. Many people think that hospices are full of children dying from cancer, but the reality we have seen is extremely different. One of the first questions people ask us about our children is: do they have cancer? Thankfully services for children with cancer are slowly improving in the major cities in China and we do not see large numbers of children with cancer abandoned locally.
Oncology wards in the local hospital are filled with children receiving treatment, with their loving families by their sides. Through our hospital partnership programmes (on hold at the moment due to COVID-19) we previously spread some joy and magic to these precious children.
Childhood cancer awareness month also allows us time to reflect on two dear children we had the privilege to care for.
Sophie was suffering from a large, aggressive oral tumour. Surgery and further treatments were unsuccessful and subsequently, her tumour continued to grow. When she came to the Butterfly Home we knew she wouldn’t have long.
We focused on making every moment count and ensuring she was comfortable. Her days were filled with joy and happiness, laughter and love. She never lost her beautiful smile. Even after her death, her light continues to shine brightly and she still brings joy to all of those who cared for her.
Stephen was another dear child who suffered from cancer, a rare aggressive brain tumour. He was only with us for one short week while we tried desperately to organise surgery for him in order to ease the pressure inside his skull with the assistance of the Baobei Foundation in Shanghai. The office staff worked late all week, trying to get all the paperwork in order and arrange transport. However, as the time drew nearer for them to go we knew Stephen was too weak. Stephen died before we could arrange surgery. He was loved, cared for and cherished. His little life mattered.
We share these stories in remembrance of two lovely little people lost so early to cancer and to raise awareness during childhood cancer month. And to all those brave warriors across the World battling this awful disease, you are in our thoughts.