Local Zimbabwean charity group, Kidzcan that supports families with children living cancer, launched its annual Orange Week on Sunday marking International Childhood Cancer Day, to raise awareness on the types of cancers affecting children in the country.
International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) is a global campaign to raise awareness about childhood cancer.
This year ICCD launched a global and local unified call to "ACT NOW". Using this slogan, advocacy groups are calling “for solidarity in action, joining voices, connecting forces, connecting initiatives when responding to the needs of children/adolescents with cancer, their families and the survivors.”
It urges governments as well as international development organizations and its various agencies, to work together with parents and survivor groups, non‐government organizations, civil society organizations, private sector and business groups, to make childhood cancer a public health priority.
The commemorations in Zimbabwe under the Orange Week banner will galvanize support for children and adolescents with cancer, the survivors and their families.
The campaign calls for people to dress in orange throughout the week and support the organization with at least a $1 donation.
Donors can use the Ecocash Biller code 51599, as well as the organizations website kidzcanzimbabwe.org
Kidzcan is the only charity in the country advocating and raising funds for children with cancer.
Bev Sebastian executive director of Kidzcan said the week is effective to raise awareness and funding for children with cancer, and any that may be diagnosed in the future.
“That’s why we are so important, that’s why we are such a lifeline for children with cancer here. One scan can cost up to a $1,000, which is very unaffordable and chemotherapy drugs are very expensive,” said Sebastian.
According to health practitioners, around 200 children are diagnosed with cancer yearly in Zimbabwe, while there are around 7,000 adults diagnosed annually with cancer.
Among the common types in children are the cancer of the brain, kidney and eyes and cancer of the blood, also known as leukemia, among others.
“We have over 1,600 patients on our day to day, last year we supported 400 children 259 which were newly diagnosed. We support them in a variety of ways,” said Sebastian.
Kidzcan determines the financial situation of the children and their families, covering bills for diagnostic testing and treatment which includes chemotherapy drugs among others, and support groups for parents and families.
“The parent support groups are also important, we also follow up with the parents on the telephone we refer them to partners in the communities, those, the patients who have poor prognosis we try and make sure they get what they need in their communities,” added Sebastian.
Sebastian said her organization believes all children deserve the “right to the fight to survive cancer,” and the plea is to call on all Zimbabweans in the country and the diaspora to make donations and make a difference in a young child’s life.
Orange Week in Zimbabwe runs until Saturday February 21st and the ICCD global and local “ACT NOW” plan runs until September marking Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.