When we met 15-year-old Commie on a recent programme visit in Kumasi, Ghana, he was spending five days on the cancer ward, at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH). Although in good spirits when we spoke to him, Commie has suffered significant hardship throughout his treatment journey.
While many children with cancer who seek treatment on the ward are accompanied by a parent, this is sadly not always the case. Commie was first diagnosed with blood cancer in 2017; however, after sadly losing his mother, Commie abandoned treatment, leading to a relapse a year later. This prompted Commie to visit a local hospital, where he stayed for 40 days before being referred to KATH, where he is currently staying by himself.
Commie’s bravery in seeking help on his own points to the importance of educating patients, families, and healthcare staff alike on how to recognize the symptoms and severity of childhood cancers. World Child Cancer works to raise awareness of childhood cancer by utilizing community awareness-raising events and local radio and television broadcasts. Greater awareness means that more families know how to spot cancer and understand the urgency of the situation.
Thankfully, Commie knew he needed to return to hospital. When we spoke to him, Commie was feeling much better and was eager to leave the hospital. He is a junior in high school and was very much looking forward to seeing his friends again and continuing his studies.
As an aspiring pastor, he was looking forward to going back to his local church as well.
Without his mother’s emotional and financial support, education is all the more important for Commie. Learning can provide relief for children who are suffering – with cancer and bereavement alike. It can also equip them with knowledge and skills to achieve their dreams and continue life as they grow into young adults.
By identifying and supporting some of the most vulnerable children, World Child Cancer has helped thousands of children with cancer receive quality treatment and care regardless of whether they have familial or financial support. With your support we continue to help children beat cancer and give them the gift of growing up.