My understanding of Kids Cancer Care and childhood cancer

My name is Khadija Samoylove and I have just started a practicum for the fall semester working with teens at Kids Cancer Care. I am currently in my final year at the University of Calgary in the kinesiology program, and I am specializing in exercise and health physiology.

For my first project, I was asked to provide a small report outlining my current understanding of childhood cancer and Kids Cancer Care. I hope to look at this after my practicum and see where I stand then compared to what I know right now.

Cancer has always been a disease that scares me. Through all the research done, we are still not 100 per cent confident that it can be conquered. It is even more frightening thinking about having to deal with cancer as a child. When I think of childhood, I think of drinking juice boxes with friends on the playground and running around to play tag, not awaiting treatment in the hospital.

Through school, I was aware that leukemia was the most common type of childhood cancer, but I was unaware of the fact that lymphomas and brain tumors are also very common, as well as solid tumours. It is however, somewhat hopeful to know that children do respond better to treatment and are often able to survive cancer and go on to live fulfilling lives.

I have always been familiar with the general treatment types: chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. However, I was unaware of how drastic and hard some treatment types are, specifically bone marrow transplants. It is extremely hard to imagine having to undergo such treatment and being kept in isolation for such a long period of time.

Having a better understanding of childhood cancer and how it affects children and parents gives me a better idea of how important Kids Cancer Care is for these families. I was blown away by just how many programs and different aspects of support the foundation offers. It is my firm belief that children and teens of all ages and abilities should have some sort of support system, whether it is through their families or friends or other organizations. Kids Cancer Care is absolutely amazing at providing this. The fact that they have camps, activities, leadership programs, fun nights and simple acts of just giving back is making sure that kids and families affected by cancer have support in every way possible.

The importance of providing such support is immense. From my own experiences, leadership camps and having support throughout my childhood did wonders for my self-esteem and helped shape the person I am today. From that I can understand just how beneficial Kids Cancer Care is for kids who are dealing with much more than I could ever imagine.

I have already learned so much more about Kids Cancer Care and childhood cancer in the first week of being involved and I am looking forward to learning so much more! I am incredibly excited, and honestly a little nervous as I begin getting more deeply involved. I hope to provide the kids I am helping with as much knowledge and positive change as I know they are going to give me. Working over the rest of the semester with Kids Cancer Care is definitely going to be an amazing experience and one that I hope will help point me in the direction of a career path I would like to take in the future.

Most importantly, September is coincidentally Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! It is not too late to get involved and provide a little more joy into a child’s life. We know that the smallest things can make a huge impact, so anything and everything helps. Thank you!

Khadija Samoylove