Mental Health … Matters!

Time is really flying! It feels as though school just started and yet, here we are in February already. Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th of February and this serves to remind us that it is important to care for others, to love and appreciate all that is around us, our fellow humans, all God’s creatures and our planet! It is also the month where the world sets aside a day (the 4th) to think about all those who suffer from cancer. This year CHOC has invited all schools to support this global initiative by participating in a Valentine’s Civvies day to raise awareness about children and teenagers with cancer.

According to Dr Stuart Siegel, Director of the Children’s Centre for Cancer and Blood Diseases in Los Angeles (USA) a group of cancer sufferers of particular concern to those who treat them are teenagers and young adults. He states “Unfortunately, of all the age groups with cancer studied, teenagers and young adults have shown the least improvement in survival from cancer of ANY age group. There are many possible reasons for this concerning statistic, but they include a lack of specific attention to treatment and research programmes geared to the unique challenges of the cancers in this age group, as well as to the psychosocial and economic issues facing young adults with cancer.”

Teenagers who have cancer seem to be the group most at risk of “getting lost” in terms of having all their needs met while undergoing treatment. The teenage years are probably the most unsettled time for anyone. This stage of transition from child to adult brings with it many complex issues, some psychological, some hormonal, some developmental. If you add cancer to the mix it becomes clear that teenagers with this disease can be in dire need of additional support and help, a great deal of which medical aide does not cover. By helping organisations such as CANSA or CHOC, funds can be collected and channelled where most needed.

So, while you are enjoying the chocolates and roses and whatever other little goodies come your way from those you love, take a minute and think about those young people living and struggling with cancer. Give a spot in your heart to them – help them by making a donation that can assist in providing research and treatment designed specifically for their needs.

This Valentine’s Day … have a heart for a child with cancer

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www.choc.org.za
Liz Norman (Clinical Social Worker/School Counsellor)
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Postal Address
PO Box 67019, Bryanston 2021
South Africa

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