Each school day in the United States 46 children, or two classrooms full of kids, are diagnosed with cancer. More than half that number of local children were honored this weekend in Fort Myers for reaching milestones in their treatment. Candellighters of Southwest Florida, which provides services to families of children with cancer, held the ceremony. It’s founder and director, Klair Snellbaker says five years is the magic mark.
“When a child survives after five years of treatment that’s usually considered that they’re cured. And then we have a couple kids that are celebrating ten years and again that’s hope they’ve grown, some of them have graduated, gone on and gotten married. I mean there’s all kinds of good stories about our kids depending on what age they’d been diagnosed.”
Twenty six kids who have successfully beat the odds of having cancer were treated to lunch, games and an awards ceremony Saturday at Florida Gulf Coast University. Cancer is the number one cause of death by disease for children and adolescents.
Twenty six Southwest Florida children who have successfully completed milestones of being off chemotherapy for cancer have been recognized for beating the disease. The children finished either one year, five year or ten year anniversaries of being finished with their cancer treatments. They were honored by the Candellighters of Southwest Florida – an independent nonprofit charity which provides support for families with children with cancer or blood disorders. Klair Snellbaker is the founder and director. She says though five years is the magic mark that says a child is cured, the often have residual issues to deal with as they age.
“As they age certainly secondary cancers are a possibility. But they have educational needs, trying to find insurance always difficult because they have the stigma of cancer being tagged on to their life. And sometimes they do have learning disabilities that make a difference as far as what kind of job opportunities they can take advantage of.”
Candlelighters provides free services to more than 350 families in the five county area. Each year, more than 12,000 children and teens are diagnosed with cancer. Nearly three thousand of them will die.
Monday, 06 November 2006 00:00
Cancer KidsWritten by Amy Tardif