Gold is the color for Cancer Awareness Month in September and as the observance comes to an end, children dealing with the dreadful disease were made more conscious of just how precious they are. Like Gold.
Dr. Shivon Belle-Jarvis, the head of the Pediatric Department at Mount St Johns Medical and health officials conducted an outreach program at the Princess Margaret School and the Seventh Day Adventist Primary-two schools on the island.
The aim was really to get these children, their teachers, and even their parents mentally ready to deal with cancer if it were to ever hit home and to encourage those already fighting the battle.
“We wanted to empower the students. So often they experience symptoms and they are sometimes fearful to report how they feel. Some may feel as though they may get in trouble, some may feel they will cause their parents to worry or don’t want their parents to miss work. Many times, they conceal the symptoms,” Dr. Belle-Jarvis told Antigua.news
At the outreach on Friday, the symptoms of cancer were discussed and a special symbolic representation by Dr. Bell-Jarvis and her team.
“We let them know that cancer is no respecter of persons and it can affect people of any age group. The outfit was gold and we explained to them that Gold is a precious metal that goes through a lot of difficult processes to become gold, to become precious…We told them that they are precious and even when they go through difficult times, they are warriors,” she said.
Dr. Belle-Jarvis wore gold pajamas and bedroom slippers, with a teddy bear in her hand. It portraited what she called “the warrior attire” because children dealing with cancer are usually at the hospital wearing bedroom attires.
“The pajamas are seen as that battlefield uniform. They are usually at hospitals and wear pajamas and they usually miss holidays and other activities with their families but they are on the battlefield.
The issue of bullying was also discussed with the children.
“We told them if by chance any one of their peers should be diagnosed with cancer and they have a loss of hair, loss of weight, their nails… it’s not a time to engage in bullying. It’s a time to embrace their peers to lift them and show them, love,” she added.
Early detection was also another aspect highlighted as part of the fighting process.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time to honor and remember children and families affected by this devastating disease and help rally support to give children with cancer better outcomes by supporting childhood cancer awareness
Some forms of cancer are mainly or exclusively seen only in children, and that is something highlighted by the awareness month.
Children can be more resilient to cancer and cancer treatments than adults, and there are many cases of triumph and complete recovery, where children make a complete recovery and grow up to live normal life.
But awareness, education, and support are vital, which is why Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is also vital.
Olivier explains that although childhood cancer is relatively rare, the incidence rate has been increasing.
According to her cancer is one of the leading causes of death among children and adolescents worldwide; approximately 280 000 children ages 0-19 are diagnosed with cancer each year.
The overall incidence of childhood cancer is on the increase, averaging a 0,8% increase per year.
The overall incidence of childhood cancer is on the increase, averaging a 0,8% increase per year since 1975.