September Is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and As KCCP Chair I asked PNW District Kiwanis Clubs to support September as “KIWANIS CHILDREN’S CANCER MONTH”.  Clubs are asked to have a program about their regional Hospital’s Fellowship Program and have at least one fund raising event.  Clubs can also ask the mayors of their towns to issue a proclamation recognizing September as “Kiwanis Children’s Cancer Month”.  Many clubs have already stepped up and have used this format to gain recognition of our fund raising efforts for our 3 hospitals.

At the District Convention Tom Wing, President of KDCCP, organized an hour-long forum. Attendance was good and the room was full. I would like to review and reiterate the message that was presented by the program. The presentation featured two fellows:  Doctor Bjorn Baadjes from BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver B.C., and Doctor Adam Lamble from Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Portland, Oregon.

The forum was about becoming involved in the fight against childhood cancer. It began by asking those in the audience two fundamental questions:

First: Is it acceptable that any child gets cancer?
Second: If not, what are YOU going to do about it?

As KCCP Chair, I am here to suggest that you can get into the fight with a reasonably good chance of having an impact on the cure of childhood cancer. Just imagine what that would be like.

Tremendous strides have been made in the past forty years toward the cure of the most common childhood cancers, leukemia and brain tumors. Survival rates are up from 50% to 90% in some cases. One type of leukemia has been totally wiped out. New therapies and more clinical trials are increasing the pace of progress. Yet, the doctors are not satisfied talking about a cure. They are talking about preventing cancer in children. Imagine that. In the future, when a child is born, it will be immunized from contracting cancer. I don’t know about you, but I want to be in this fight.

You can BE in the fight by supporting KCCP, Kiwanis Children’s Cancer Program. In a nutshell this is a PNW District supported program that raises funds for three different Hematology/Oncology fellowship programs at three different regional children’s hospitals. The hospitals specialize in childhood cancer treatment and research. The doctors who benefit the fellowship programs become children’s cancer specialist and they join other hospitals and laboratories around the country where they conduct cutting edge research, treat patients and train other doctors.

As Dr. Evan Shereck, the Director of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program at Doernbecher says:

“When one supports the fellows, they are actually making a huge investment in the care of children with cancer. For every fellow we train, they will go on to train many more fellows who will also go on to perform important research and care for patients. Therefore, the investment in one fellow will increase exponentially with a global reach for children with cancer.”

Each regional hospital’s fellowship program is supported by a Kiwanis organization made up of Kiwanis volunteers. For example:

  • The Pacific Northwest Children’s Cancer Society – supporting BC Children’s.
  • Kiwanis Doernbecher Children’s Cancer Program – supporting Doernbecher Children’s
  • The Seattle Children’s Cancer Program – supporting Seattle Children’s

The non-profit organizations are run by boards of directors and have committees that run fundraisers and provide resources like speaker’s bureaus. While these three organizations operate independently from one another within their own geographic jurisdictions, they are affiliated under the auspices of the KCCP District Chair.

The non-profit organizations are very busy in their geographic trade areas enticing as many people and organizations as possible to donate to their fund raisers. Their resources are often strained and request of those resources to do more and more and more for the benefit of the fellowship programs, sometimes must be declined.

This is where the KCCP Chair and you come in (presuming you are not on one of the boards of the non-profits).

The KCCP Chair is (I am) looking for you, the person who can influence your club members and others to work on behalf of the children’s hospital fellowship program in your area.  Maybe you can convince your club to give $50 per member per year to the KCCP organization in your area. Maybe you can suggest that happy dollar collections go to KCCP. Maybe you have an idea for a fund raiser that will bring in new money. KCCP needs you to convince your club to undertake a fund raiser to put another nail in childhood cancer coffin. Maybe you can convince your club to do all of these things.

If you are a Key Club advisor, you may know that the Key Club Governor, Juliet Yu’s, Governor’s Project for next year is to raise $75,000 for Kiwanis Children’s Cancer Program.You can help the Key Clubs you advise participate in the overall effort by the PNW District Key Clubs to raise $75,000 for KCCP. Maybe with your effort they can exceed that amount.

There may be boards and/or committee member positions open at one or more of the non-profit organizations. Your passion for eradicating childhood cancer and proven skills in areas like fund raising, public speaking, creating electronic newsletters, managing/maintaining and creating websites and social media sites, conducting marketing campaigns, experience with creating advertising and obtaining publicity among other things would probably make you a desirable candidate. You should talk to the president or another officer of the organization, in your area about applying for a seat at the table.

Let’s reflect on those two questions again.

First: Is it acceptable that any child gets cancer?
Second: If not, what are YOU going to do about it?

If you are a Kiwanian, you can support KCCP. I hope you do.

For more information contact Frank Morehouse at: frank.beth@comcast.net