September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and organisations are doing what they can to support children and their families affected by cancer.
This includes the Childhood Cancer Association, which is working with businesses, community groups and local government to raise awareness and generate funds.
The association said its objectives this month were to both increase awareness of childhood cancer and to raise $20,000 to support the ongoing educational development of children with cancer.
Childhood Cancer Association chief executive officer Cath O'Loughlin said it was an important time for the association.
"It is a really important month, not just for the organisation but more importantly for the children with cancer," she said.
"We need to raise awareness and this shines a spotlight on the issues that kids face, and is an opportunity to raise funds."
The South Australian-based organisation provides more than 30 free different support services to meet the needs of every individual family, including professional counselling, daily hospital visits, accommodation services in Adelaide for families from regional areas and education support.
Ms O'Loughlin said it was "hands-on, practical help" for the children and their families.
The association supports South Australian children and their families, as well as families from the Northern Territory, and country Victoria and New South Wales when their child receives treatment in Adelaide.
It is currently providing support to more than 400 families affected by childhood cancer, both from metropolitan and regional areas.
"There are so many inspiration kids and families who go through incredibly tough times and they do it in a way that leaves you inspired," Ms O'Loughlin said.
"It helps to motivate us to do what we do.
"There are families in need and you want to support them - the good news is most children will survive, but we do also offer bereavement services for families."
The association is asking the community to help raise these vital funds by:
- Organising a fundraiser in September
- Becoming a Childhood Champion with a regular, monthly donation means you can make a big difference in the long-term
- Making it your charity of choice for the month and donate a percentage of sales/services to the Childhood Cancer Association during September
- Browsing its online store for a gift that gives twice
- Making a one-off tax-deductible donation
"There are lots of ways to get involved this month," Ms O'Loughlin said.
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month was first proclaimed by former United States President Barack Obama in 2010 and has since become a global initiative raising awareness for childhood cancer.
Each year, more than 1000 children and adolescents in Australia - and 300,000 children worldwide - are diagnosed with cancer, while 70 per cent of children who survive cancer suffer long-term effects from their treatment.
In South Australia in 2020, 61 children diagnosed with cancer were referred to the Childhood Cancer Association, eight children relapsed and 14 passed away from cancer.
As of August 30, 2021, 45 children newly diagnosed with cancer were referred to the Childhood Cancer Association, eight relapsed and seven children passed away.
More information on International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month can be found at childhoodcancer.asn.au/ccam.