At the end of my first full year as Chief Executive of World Child Cancer, I am so proud of what we have achieved, very aware of how much more needs to be done, and very determined that we must continue to rise to one of the great challenges of our time. What drives me on is the knowledge that childhood cancer is mostly curable, and it is therefore our duty to save those children who are dying when they do not need to.
Thank you to everyone who supported us in 2016 - your generosity saved many lives. But there is so much more to do. We need you, and many more people like you, to support us in 2017.
These are the key facts that will drive us at World Child Cancer to redouble our efforts in 2017:
- Nearly 300,000 children who will develop cancer in 2017 in low and middle income countries will die undiagnosed, untreated, and in great pain.
- 60% of those children could survive with our tested and affordable interventions.
- Poor families, desperately trying to give their child a chance, are driven into even greater poverty affecting the whole family.
- In high income countries 80% of children survive cancer; in low and middle countries only about 10% survive.
- So many children dying untreated and in pain is a hidden humanitarian crisis that we simply must address.
I am so fortunate to work with the most fantastic team - our small but truly dedicated staff and trustees, our brilliant volunteer doctors who give up their time selflessly, and the heroic staff who work day and night in hospitals across the world despite a severe shortage of resources, but no shortage at all of commitment and love.
I have also seen such fantastic determination by so many parents who have given up so much and fought so many battles to support their sick children. We supported a group of mothers in Ghana, who were struggling to support themselves and even to eat enough, to set up a social enterprise to make jewellery. We brought some to London which sold well - but the mothers decided not to take the money - they want it to go to the ward to support the next children to arrive.
I also have an enduring picture of children queuing early in the morning outside the school we set up in the hospital in Yangon, Myanmar so eager were they to have some normality back in their lives and to start learning again.
I have been surrounded and humbled by so much courage and fortitude - but they can’t survive without our help to pay for treatment, training, and drugs. Please keep helping us!
Best wishes to you and your families for 2017.
CEO World Child Cancer