Kidscan Supports Sophie's Legacy

Kidscan Children’s Cancer Research are supporting Sophie’s Legacy who are campaigning for improvements in childhood cancer care, treatments and for increased research funding. We are urging all of our supporters to join in the campaign by encouraging your local MP to attend an upcoming debate in the House of Commons.

On the 26th September 2022, there will be a ‘Backbench Business Debate: Chilldhood Cancer Outcomes’ in the House of Commons. This will be the first time since records began that childhood cancer will be discussed in the main chamber and it is a monumental moment for childhood cancer.

The debate is the result of continued campaigning by a charity called Sophie’s Legacy which was setup by Gareth and Charlotte Fairall in memory of their daughter Sophie who sadly gained her angel wings in 2021 when treatment could no long stop the spread of her cancer. Before she passed away Sophie wrote a bucket list, of changes she wanted to see in the world which included

  • Play specialists 7 days a week in hospitals
  • Improvements to food for children in hospital
  • For parents to be fed when staying with their child
  • For GP’s, nurses and health processionals to be trained in childhood cancer
  • To increase the funds (currently 3%) for childhood cancer research

Determined to make Sophie’s list a reality, her family have campaigned for change and with the support of their local MP Caroline Dinenage will have the opportunity to see Sophie’s wishes debated in the House of Commons.

Although Kidscan supports all aspects of the debate, there are three key areas in particular that are close to the hearts of the team at Kidscan.

In the UK 20% of children diagnosed with cancer like Sophie will not survive because treatments options for childhood cancers are limited. These options become even more restricted once a child’s cancer has spread and so early diagnosis is a key element to improving survival rates. Sadly as Caronline Dineage highlights, 53% of childhood cancers end up being picked up in A&E and this is down to a lack of awareness of the signs & symptoms within health professional such as GP’s. We therefore support the call for a national signs and symptoms campaign to help boost early diagnosis and training to be available for all health professionals.

Unfortunately there is another side to childhood cancer that is less well known and that’s the fact that children will receive treatments often designed for adults. As well as fighting cancer, these treatments also damage children’s growing bodies and can mean over 60% of children who survive cancer, will go on to develop life altering disabilities that can include hearing loss, infertility, developmental issues, mobility issues, secondary cancers and even heart and lung problems. Known as late-effects these disabilities can appear long after treatment, are progressive and can even lead to early mortality.

The only way to improve survival and ensure children can go on to live long healthy lives, is by investing in research. In the last 20 years only 3 new treatments have been developed for children versus 190 for adults, and thats simply down to a lack of funding – in fact only 3.5% of cancer research spend is dedicated to finding new treatments for children with cancer. That’s why we also support the call for the gap in funding for childhood cancer research to be addressed.

How can you help?

That’s simple, without MP’s joining the debate on the 26th April then the issue of childhood cancer will continue to go unnoticed. So we are asking you to send your local MP a letter, asking them to attend the debate. Your MP must be a backbencher and thanks to Sophie’s Legacy you can use the letter template below to rally support.Thank you for your support.

“Dear MP

As your constituent in [INSERT AREA]

I’m writing to you to ask you to attend the Backbench Business Debate: Childhood Cancer Outcomes on Tuesday 26th April (originally scheduled for the 21st April).

This debate is important to me as [INSERT personal story or Sophie’s Story here]

Childhood cancer is often referred to as rare, but is the biggest killer of children in the UK. Every constituency in the United Kingdom will have been touched by childhood cancer. It is vitally important to look at how we can improve outcomes for the many young lives that it affects.

As my MP, I hope you find time to attend and would be grateful if you could let me know if you will attend.
Yours sincerely
Full Address

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