World Cancer Day 2015 - Not beyond us!

World Cancer Day  ‘Not Beyond Us’

World Cancer Day 2015 

The UICC raises awareness with the annual event ‘World Cancer Day’. Each year the campaign aims to reach more and more people by raising awareness on specific cancer control solutions. The awareness and solutions are aimed to reach all levels; from members of the public to governmental policy implementation. Cancer interventions have to be forefront of health development agendas in the coming years to overall reduce the global burden of cancer. 

This year the campaigns headline ‘Not Beyond Us’ wants to show listeners that battling this disease is within our capabilities. They emphasise the collective responsibility we all have to support low-and middle-income countries. These countries are ‘tackling a cancer epidemic with insufficient resources’. 

Krebsallianz, as members of the UICC, takes it upon themselves to help promote their campaign and call their supporters and listeners to action. Krebsallianz helps those most in need and joins the UICC in marking World Cancer Day February 4th 2015 as a day to raise awareness. 

Cancer – ‘Not Beyond Us’

World Cancer Day 2015 has chosen the following key messages this year to spread awareness and call for action. 

  • Choose a healthy life – help reduce the global goal of reducing premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by 25% by 2025
  • Deliver early detection – significantly reduce the cancer burden across the world by supporting and spreading the word on early detection programs
  • Achieve treatment for all –All people have the right to access quality, effective cancer treatment and services on equal terms, regardless of geography and without suffering economic hardship as a consequence. Krebsallianz believes that no one should suffer just because they are poor
  • Maximise quality of life – The impact of cancer is to be understood on an emotional, mental and physical level in order to maximize the quality of life for patients, their families and carers

At Krebsallianz we believe nobody should suffer due to their geographical or economical situation; it is our goal to support the people most in need that would other wise go untreated. “Achieving treatment for all” has long been our vision and Sophia Valecion’s story from Tegucigalpa Honduras reinforces the campaigns headline ‘Not beyond us’.

Sophia sprints across the field near her family home. A few years ago it was something her father took for granted. After the ordeal and struggle the family have got through, he says he is blessed and also very lucky. 

When she was just 6 Sophia was diagnosed with a grade II astrocytoma. The brain tumor was initially removed by surgery and followed up by radiotherapy. Unfortunately the tumor returned bigger and stronger than before. Up until then Mauricio had struggled heroically with the financial burden. He had to sell off his business as a piñata maker and birthday party planner to raise money for all treatments and testing. He had had to borrow extensively and was afraid he may lose his house. After Sophia’s second operation however, not all the tumor could be removed and she had to undergo chemotherapy. 

This would have been another financial burden for the family, yet luckily Krebsallianz had just donated the chemotherapy Temozolomide to the Hospital Esquela in Tegucigalpa Honduras. This chemotherapy was essential for Sophia’s treatment and recovery. Temozolomide is a highly pecialized chemotherapy medication, it is often used to arrest and shrink inoperable or post surgical astrocytomas. Her treatment began to show results and life began to return back to normal.

Four years later, Krebsallianz returned to visit her again. Her family home, 30minutes outside of Tegucigalpa belongs to a small community. As Sophia’s initial treatment cost her parents their livelihood, they sent Sophia and her two younger siblings to live with their grandparents. Whilst Mauricio built up his business again - he felt it was the best option for the children. 

Sophia, now happy and healthy in her countryside home with her brother and sister, has shown no signs of the cancer recurring for over four years. Her MRI test results are clear and her seizures a thing of the past. It was an arduous and long way to get her here, surrounded by a loving family and lucky to receive the Temozolomide donation, her father said it was a gift from God. 

Sophia’s family would not have been able to afford the medicine if it hadn’t been for Krebsallianz. The donation gave her a chance at recovery, which should not have been taken away from her, just because her family is poor. 

There are an estimated 160,000 newly diagnosed cases of childhood cancer worldwide each year with more than 70% of the world’s children with cancer lacking access to effective treatment. The result is an unacceptably low survival rate of 10% in some low- and middle-income countries compared to 80% in some high-income countries. 

Sofia’s story has a happy ending, and her situation is similar to many other children across the world that Krebsallianz has been able to help. Achieving access for children and cancer sufferers around the globe is our mission.