Childhood cancer awareness

Childhood cancer awareness

100 ribbons for childhood cancer awareness

Monica with her teammates at Junior Champs 2017 wearing Childhood cancer awareness ribbons – from left to right Bailey Forrest, Dayna Graham, Alia Khan, Poppy Dixon, Monica Botha

Childhood cancer awareness is something that is very close to our hearts.  Monica battled with chronic pneumonia since birth.  At the age of two, she was tested for all possible causes of this condition including cancer.  The waiting period for this type of testing is very stressful and I, as a mom, cannot imagine what it must be like to learn that your child has cancer.

Monica tested negative for any cancer and related childhood illnesses.  The experience, however, does stay with a person.  I clearly remember the day Monica went for a cat scan.  She was into Dinosaurs at that stage.  We told her that she is going to travel to Dinosaur land and back.  The nurse played along and gave her some Dinosaur stickers when the scan completed.

It really helps to make a very scary situation less scary when you distract a small child’s attention with make-believe.

In 2013 our pediatrician concludes that Monica is an asthmatic.  We start preventative treatment as asthma mostly seems to be the cause of all Monica’s illness.  We refuse to give up and discuss swimming as a sport with our pediatrician, Dr. John.  She confirms that it will be a good idea for Mica to swim as it will strengthen her lungs and build lung capacity.

We find a club an a coach for Monica in January 2013.  By September, Monica swims 25-meters on her own and we enter her for her first fun gala.

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How did we find Gold in September?

September is Spring in South Africa.  It is also the month in which we swim our local 13 and Under Junior Championship which earmarks the opening of the swimming season.

We support Gold in September as 
this non-profit raise funds for 
much needed research with the 
goal to develop new treatments 
for childhood cancer which, 
ultimately may lead to cures or 
even prevention of cancer in 
children.

2015:

Childhood cancer awareness 2015

Monica pledges all her races to Childhood cancer awareness in 2015

Gold in September runs a Facebook campaign raising childhood cancer awareness.  We read the family’s story and are really touched by it as we can relate to the whole experience.

Monica is home-schooled and we decide that she should show support.  We cannot donate any money at that stage, but she pledges her races at KZN Junior Champs to Gold in September to raise awareness for the project.

Monica wins all her events,  the Victrix Ludorum trophy and the top Female 8 and Under trophy.

It is amazing to create awareness through a simple act of kindness. This project is a perfect fit for the PACES curriculum she uses in home-schooling (Accelerated Christian Education).

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Gold ribbons for Childhood cancer awareness in 2016 and 2017:

Childhood cancer awareness ribbons

Monica cuts the ribbon and seals the ends while mom sews on pins and beads

In 2016 and 2017 we decided to do a bit more to create childhood cancer awareness at Junior Champs.  We shop around for some gold satin ribbon to make ribbons for swimmers to wear.

Mica and Mom make 100 ribbons to hand out at Junior Champs to create awareness.  Mica cuts and seals the ribbons while mom helps by sewing pins and gold beads onto the ribbons.

At the gala, so many people share their own or others’ experiences with childhood cancer.  It is very touching to see how the project grows and the amount of support and awareness it raises.

Our swim friends offer to pay for the ribbons on more than one occasion but we do not accept.  Gold in September is not a South African initiative.  If we do raise money, it will be very little when it reaches the United States due to the Rand Dollar exchange rate and bank charges.

We prefer for now to just make ribbons, hand it out and show that in September every year, we are grateful for a healthy swimmer and that we care for the kids that are suffering from cancer. This might change in the future as Monica grows up.  She might decide to do more.

We support childhood cancer awareness as part of Swim to Inspire.
Supporting a good cause keeps Mica grounded and she learns that:

No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted
~Aesop

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