December 2, 2019
Recently I received an email with the subject ‘Christmas give back’, I couldn’t help but feel touched straight away: this message was coming from a friend whose 3-year-old son was diagnosed with a stage 3 Rhabdomyosarcoma located in his pelvis, a rare cancer, just a year ago.
‘This very sad Christmas was also an incredible experience because we were surrounded by so much love and joy thanks to the associations and other families who came together to offer gifts to sick children and to bring some joy.’
Their little boy is still fighting the disease, but has been able to go back to school and will spend this Christmas with his family at home. Filled with gratitude and love, my friends are bringing people together to collect presents for the children and their parents that will spend their Christmas in hospital. They are also supporting Alice’s Arc, a charity dedicated to funding research into finding a cure and less invasive treatments for Rhabdomyosarcoma, in the name of ‘Hope with Gaspard’. If you would like to get involved and donate, go here.
Thanks to amazing doctors, nurses, scientific research, technology, charities and donators, nowadays there is hope against cancer. Survival for children’s cancers is improving and has more than doubled in the last 40 years in Great Britain, according to Children’s Cancer Research.
It can be so easy for us to take our health for granted, to get swept up in the everyday without fully appreciating the support, the love, the richness of life. Now’s your chance to share in the Christmas spirit and give back to the world. I would like to help my friends and all the families affected by Rhabdomyosarcoma, by encouraging you to donate, give a little of your time or use your skills to help all the children in need this Christmas.
There are 70 new cases of Rhabdomyosarcoma in the UK a year, this is an aggressive form of childhood cancer with a variety of subtypes such as embryonal and alveolar which influence the outcome. Rhabdomyosarcoma has a high rate of relapse once it’s cured, and the survival rate in case of relapse is 17%.
Here are the charities where you can give your bit:
Donating to Alice’s Arc, your money goes towards helping the clinical research of highly valued institutions such as the ICR, RM and GOSH and supporting families impacted by cancer.
Due to the lack of funding for childhood cancers, the research into less invasive treatments are not nearly as advanced as for some adult cancers. This means that the survival rate remains largely unchanged over the last 30 years. This needs to change. These children deserve a better chance to have a long and fulfilled life. You can give your donation here.
There are many ways you can get involved with GOSH, from organising a collection to creating your own fundraising event, buying a GOSH gift, joining a marathon or giving your own goods. Have a look at their website here, and get involved this Christmas. And there’s still time to join the London Santa Dash! All funds go to child and family support, rebuilding and refurbishment, research and equipment.
All funds raised for Grace Kelly Children’s Cancer Trust will go towards raising awareness of childhood cancers and its signs and symptoms. They produce educational resources for parents and clinicians, provide support to families and fund research into rare tumours, including malignant rhabdoid tumours, AT/RT tumours, rhabdomyosarcoma and undifferentiated sarcomas. Give your donation or find more information about creating your own fundraising here.
By buying from your local Cancer Research UK store, you are making a donation to this organization. You can also bring your unwanted goods to your local shop, donate, fundraise, volunteer or join one of their marathons or events, and raise funds. More information on how to get involved here.
They fund research in various ways, from their five research institutes, to grants for investigator-led programmes, projects and training fellowships. Their funding spans the research pipeline, and their diverse portfolio includes research into a wide range of cancers. In 2017/18 it included £57 million for research into detecting cancer earlier, and £35 million on research into possible cancer causes and prevention. Find more information here.
As Brad Gudger, two-time cancer survivor and healthcare activist, said:
“There is nothing more powerful than human connection.”
Let’s come together this Christmas to support those who are suffering, those who are caring and those who are surviving. They deserve a Christmas full of love, light and hope, just as you do.