Crowdfunding for Kids With Cancer
Receiving the news that a child has been diagnosed with cancer is absolutely heartbreaking for any parent as well as other family members and friends. Educating yourself about childhood cancer is vital to fighting the disease, while fundraising for childhood cancer awareness, critical research or for your own child with cancer can fund hope for new treatments and help ease the financial burden.
“Childhood cancer is the number one cause of death by disease of Canadian children”, said Patrick Sullivan, Board Chair for Childhood Cancer Canada and Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation.
Key facts to know about childhood cancer
- Every year in Canada, around 1000 children are diagnosed with cancer.
- The rate is highest during the first five years of life and begins to decrease with age.
- Leukemias, which are cancers of the bone marrow and blood, are the most common childhood cancers, accounting for about 30% of all cancers in children.
The current outlook
Of the thousand children diagnosed with cancer every year in Canada, approximately 110 die from the disease. Childhood cancer accounts for less than 1% of all cancer cases in Canada. And that while rates of diagnosis remain stable through the years, the survival rate has increased. Reports show that more boys than girls are diagnosed with cancer, and around half of all cases are diagnosed before the child turns five.
The reasons for increased survival rights are likely due to better treatment protocols and supportive care.
AML (acute myeloid leukemia) has shown no improvement in 25 years, with survival rates for children with AML in the 40% range. Leukemia accounts for the majority of new cancer cases.
“Although overall outcomes are positive, there is still much work to be done to address survivorship, toxicity of treatments, and the low cure rates of refractory, relapsed and hard to treat cancers,
And some cancers like, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), receive so little funding in Canada where families are forced to look across borders for clinical trials. DIPG is a rare brain tumour and for kids diagnosed with DIPG they only have an average of nine months to survive. One family in Ontario has called on Parliament to declare May 17 as a national day for DIPG awareness and on that day the CN Tower lit up in gold and grey to raise awareness.
There have, however, been major advances in survival rates for childhood ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) in first remission, which are now approaching 80%, while for children in underdeveloped countries with the disease, there is only a 20% survival rate due to lack of funds and access to medical treatments.
CAR T therapy, which uses a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer, is among the most recent breakthroughs in childhood cancer research. But the availability of this therapy is limited – only Ontario hospitals are funded to deliver the therapy to those who meet the eligibility criteria..
A breakthrough in prevention research for Ewing sarcoma, an aggressive and often fatal childhood cancer, found shielding behaviour in cancer cell types. Dr. Sorensen explains, “What we found was that Ewing sarcoma cells are able to develop an antioxidant response that shields them and allows them to survive as they circulate… What’s exciting about this study is if we can target the cells in circulation then maybe we can prevent metastasis from occurring.”
Education is key
While a childhood cancer diagnosis is devastating, patients and families who educate themselves about the disease can increase the chances of beating it, according to Hoffman.
“If you don’t know what you’re facing, you can’t fight it,” she said. “It’s important at a child’s age level to understand that they can be empowered to fight childhood cancer. Being educated saves just as many lives as research.”
Education is extremely important to the ACCO. It is the largest producer of educational materials and resources on childhood cancer in the U.S. In 2015 alone, the ACCO provided more than 45,000 learning resources to educate children, parents, teachers and others about childhood cancer.
Fundraising for childhood cancer
Raising awareness and funding research for childhood cancer is an incredibly powerful weapon in the fight against the disease.
Childhood cancer is consistently underfunded, accounting for only five per cent of all cancer research funding in Canada today.
Those wishing to contribute in their own way can launch an online fundraiser to start crowdfunding for kids with cancer to raise awareness, fund research, help alleviate the financial burden of cancer treatments and other costs, and pay tribute to a loved one who passed away.
Not only does a cancer diagnosis turn a child’s entire world upside down, it also adds a large amount of financial stress due to overwhelming medical expenses that most families are unprepared for. Cancer is known for being very costly, as research shows that families fighting this awful disease are twice as likely to go bankrupt as those that are not. In addition to treatment, there are additional costs to consider, such as food, lodging, and transportation to add to the already mounting stack of medical bills.
These are some of the reasons why more and more families are turning to crowdfunding nowadays. Setting up a crowdfunding fundraiser to help cope with the high cost of cancer care is a simple and effective way to receive support from loved ones and people all over the world.
Three successful GoFundMe children’s cancer fundraisers
Vinny was already a special kid. At 7 years old, he grew out his hair and donated it to be made into a wig for someone battling childhood cancer. Shortly after his generous act, Vinny himself was diagnosed with cancer. His grandparents started the fundraiser VICTORY for Vinny, and they raised more than $450,000 for this brave young fighter.
Jenesis (Jenny) Shaw is a childhood cancer survivor. When Jenny noticed that not every kid in the cancer ward had the same resources and support that she had, she knew she wanted to do something. That’s when her idea for hospital care bags was born. Jenny and her family turned to GoFundMe, where her fundraiser raised more than $67,000 to give other kids fighting cancer some comfort, care, and love.
Brett’s fundraiser for his nephew Luke has raised nearly $100,000 to date. He puts it best in explaining why he started this fundraiser:
“My nephew, Luke, who turns 2 in May, has been diagnosed with late stage Neuroblastoma, which is an aggressive cancer that has filled half of his abdominal cavity. His treatment will require a minimum of one year of chemotherapy, radiation and a possible bone marrow transplant.
His parents, Bill & Rachalle are struggling to decide whether to relocate to Memphis at St Jude’s Children’s hospital or if they should remain at UNC. They are both teachers and Rachalle must leave her position to care for Luke full time. They anticipate tremendous hospital bills, loss of income and frequent travel expenses for Bill if they decide to relocate Luke to Memphis.
The outpouring of love and support from everyone has been tremendous and is without measure. Cancer has a way of making everyone feel powerless to help. I’m hoping this will alleviate some of the pressure they are under so they can focus on the fight before them. Thank you for your continued love and generosity.”
Charities fighting childhood cancer and supporting kids and families
Childhood Cancer Canada
Childhood Cancer Canada joined forces with Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation to create victories for Canadian children with cancer. This includes funding clinical trials, childhood cancer research as well as numerous programs for kids diagnosed with cancer and their families.
The organization provides programs to children and families in Northern Alberta and the NWT to address their complex needs through activities, peer support, counselling services, and more.
This foundation supports Alberta children and their families on their cancer journey through camp and outreach, research, education, and scholarship programs.
This organization works to ensure that everyone affected by childhood cancer has access to the best care and support.
This association provides support for families and children with cancer on Vancouver Island through counselling, education, therapy, and community programs.
CCFS is a registered charity and supports families who have children with cancer by providing financial assistance throughout BC.
Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer (NOFCC) is a registered charitable organization based in Sudbury, Ontario and is committed to helping families across Northern Ontario who have a child diagnosed with cancer.
Make a difference through crowdfunding
Ready to kick off your own fundraiser for a child with cancer and family in need or to raise awareness about childhood cancer? Check out twelve ways you can support childhood cancer awareness. Launch a crowdfunding fundraiser today. For more information on stem cell treatment see our post Is Stem Cell Therapy Right For You?