Every week, three New Zealand families will be told what no parent wants to hear; that their child has cancer. And each year, New Zealand children will collectively endure over 100,000 treatments including radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgical procedures.
The Child Cancer Foundation provides emotional, practical and financial support to ensure that ‘every child and their family walking the child cancer journey will never feel alone’. It receives no direct government funding and relies solely on community support.
The Foundation offers children with cancer Beads of Courage®, a registered, therapeutic programme which provides a physical story of a child’s journey; each bead representing a treatment, experience or milestone.
The Foundation also provides practical resources such as Family Places - staffed day centres for both locals and those traveling away from home for treatment, and holiday homes where families can take a break from the hospital to spend quality time together.
Professionals is a Gold Star Sponsor of the Child Cancer Foundation. Since 1994 we have helped them continue their invaluable work by contributing over four million dollars in donations and project funding.
As well as gifting a percentage from each property sale, our offices around the country host numerous fundraising events throughout the year. These funds have helped establish two Family Places in Auckland and Wellington, holiday homes in Taupo and Queenstown and have contributed to the purchase of a national centre in Auckland.
If you would like to donate to the Child Cancer Foundation, please visit: www.childcancer.org.nz or text BEAD to 206 to automatically donate $3 from your mobile phone account or prepaid card. For more information about the Child Cancer Foundation provides please visit their website.
"I can't remember the last time we were all together, this has been so incredibly special for us."
"After 5 months treatment Hone was the most happiest and I will never forget the look of excitement in his eyes when we entered [Sunshine Lodge]."
"We would like to say a big thank you for your generousity at providing such a lovely home and holiday spot for all child cancer families to enjoy. It was a real pleasure to stay at Sunshine Lodge. People like you make living with child cancer a bit more bearable."
- The O'Neill's.
Ryu (6) from Auckland
Ryu has 500+ beads of Courage. On August 31 2013, a month before Ryu's 5th birthday, the family’s life was changed forever when he was diagnosed with High Risk T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).
At the time Ryu was lethargic and his mum Ana thought he was coming down with the flu, but as the symptoms dragged on and her normally energetic little man just couldn’t shake it.Then new symptoms started appearing and they rushed him to Starship, which is when everything started. Although scared, Ryu was a brave boy throughout the early stages of treatment. Within a year of his treatment he was walking calmly into the theatre by himself, joking with the anesthetist and even the dreaded finger pricks got better, helped along by a bit of bribery – a new game for every six jabs.
His treatment has had a few hurdles along the way including going into anaphylactic shock on the motorway, after having an allergic reaction to a drug, or when his liver shut down a month into treatment and he had to have the fluid drained from his body.
Now after many months of treatment and numerous operations, Ryu is now on maintenance and will be off treatment on Christmas Eve 2016.
Ryu's interests are tackling (rugby,league), he loves fishing, enjoys singing and listening to music on his iPad, he also really loves anything and everything to do with wrestling. One of his favourite things to do is to teach his baby brother new things – including wrestling moves!
If you would like to help a child like Ryu, you can buy making a make donation here.
Te Paea (8) from Kaitaia
Te Paea has 500 Beads of Courage. Kaitaia’s Te Paea Rameka is one of our four 2015 National Ambassadors chosen to represent the children throughout the country that we support.
Te Paea (8) has a beaming smile. It’s a smile that has remained throughout her cancer journey, charming the many nurses, doctors and other health professionals she’s seen while undergoing countless rounds of treatment for a Medulloblastoma brain tumour.
In September 2013, when Te Paea was seven, she began getting headaches at school - what the local doctor thought was a viral bug that was doing the rounds.After several days of headaches, Te Paea had stopping eating and getting her to drink was difficult, so the family went back to the doctor. Following tests they were ambulanced from Kaitaia Hospital to Whangarei Hospital where the tumour was identified through a CT scan.
From then “things were a blur” for mum Arerina and Te Paea, with an immediate transfer to Auckland’s Starship Hospital and straight into the operating theatre to relieve the pressure on Te Paea’s brain. “I guess I was in shock, one minute we were at the doctor’s, then the hospital, then onto a helicopter and then in another hospital in a different city with about 20 people in the room with us and then Te Paea was taken into the operating theatre,” Arerina says.“Everything just happened so fast.”
The tumour was removed in November 2013 and Te Paea proudly wears her more than 500 Beads of Courage® which were given to her by the Child Cancer Foundation in recognition of the 32 radiation treatments, 55 cycles of chemotherapy and the many other procedures that she has undergone.
One of the many people who have helped the family get through the last 18 months was Janet, their Child Cancer Foundation Family Support Coordinator.“Janet is always there for us, asking if there’s anything we need support with, like help with everyday living costs as well as travel costs for the countless trips to and from the hospital,” says Arerina. “She has really helped us to keep our heads up, and helped to put smiles on our faces. Without the Child Cancer Foundation our journey would have been a lot harder to deal with. It really helped to take away some of the stress.”
Te Paea finished her last round of chemotherapy in October last year and for the next two years will have regular MRI scans at Starship and check-ups at Whangarei Hospital. She is looking forward to going back to school and being with her friends – just being an eight-year-old girl who loves music and crafting!
If you would like to help a child like Te Paea, you can buy making a make donation here.