September was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Sickle Cell Awareness Month. To mark to occasion, the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta released a photo series, showing some of the children that they treat for cancer and sickle cell disease. The children are holding flags emblazoned with the word they that they and their parents chose to describe their personal journeys with their conditions. Quotes from the children and their parents are included next to the pictures, sharing their experiences and approaches to their conditions. You can see the photo series, along with the quotes in full, here, at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta website.
Each of the five families that took part in the series was asked to choose a word that they felt described their journey with their condition. Luke, a fifteen-year-old with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chose “STRONG”, saying, “on day one, I decided fear was not an option.” Emmy, an eight-year-old with sickle cell disease, is shown holding a red flag that says, “BRAVE”. Her mum, who picked the word, says, “Emmy blows us away with her desire to choose joy and bravery in the midst of pain that could take down grown men.” The three other children, four-year-old Caroline, eleven-year-old Lana, and fifteen-year-old DaJean, each hold flags saying, “HOPE”, “EMPOWERING”, and “STRONG.”
The Aflac center is sharing these pictures and quotes to “recognise their [the children’s’] fierce spirits during the fight of their lives” saying that they, along with family and friends, are behind the children “every step of the way.”
To see the photo series in full, click here.
About Childhood Cancer
According to Cancer Research UK, approximately 1,800 children between the ages of 0 to 14 in the UK are diagnosed with cancer, including benign brain tumours, each year. Children tend to develop different types of cancers to adults, with the most common types being acute leukaemias (accounting for one in every three cases of childhood cancer), and brain and spinal cord cancers (about one in four cases). Despite having a different pattern of cancer types, the treatment of childhood cancer is often similar to that of adult cancers. To find out more, you can visit Cancer Research UK by clicking here.
About Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited conditions that affect the way red blood cells are formed. As a result, these unusual red blood cells may not live as long as is typical, and they can become stuck in blood vessels. SCD is a serious and life-long condition, and many people affected by it experience anaemia (which often causes tiredness), frequent infections, and sickle cell crises, which are episodes of pain that can be extremely severe and may last for several days.