Shuswap family raises awareness of need for better child cancer treatments

Young cancer patient doing her best to help others with the disease that hits one in 333 kids

Kim Lahti-Scranton was assembling her returnable beverage containers, wondering as she did so, what organization could benefit from the refund.

“Wait a minute, I thought, this is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, so why don’t we collect bottles and cans for that?” says the Salmon Arm mom. “We need more research dollars for better drugs and better protocols.”

Lahti-Scranton is terribly aware of the rigours of brutal treatments for children with cancer, and the effects that available treatments have now and down the road.

Her seven-year-old daughter Jane was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) when she was five. After an intense eight months of treatment, Jane is now at the maintenance stage, taking chemo orally on a daily basis and going out of town for treatment every month.

Related: Fundraisers to help child with cancer

We did feel fortunate, or as fortunate as you can feel with cancer, that her drugs were well-researched as ALL is the most common of childhood cancers,” says Lahti-Scranton, noting in 1960, the survival rate of all cancers in kids was around 14 per cent, but now, due to research, it is 90 per cent for children with leukemia. “We have the benefit of all that research behind us and are so sorry for the ones who don’t have the benefit of the research.

Still, Jane’s five-year survival rate is between 80 to 90 per cent. Sadly three out of 10 children will lose their battle, she says, wondering how much statistics could improve if funding for research was increased.

“Government funding for pediatric cancer research is a tiny four per cent of research dollars,” says Lahti-Scranton. “One in 333 kids in Canada will be diagnosed with cancer and even though outcomes have improved, cancer is the number-one disease-related cause of death in children – more than all the other diseases combined.”

She notes that since 1980, fewer than 10 drugs have been developed for children with cancer and the treatment protocols and drugs are brutal.

Adds Lahti-Scranton, it is expected that 95 per cent of children with childhood cancers will have significant health-related issues by the time they are 45, side-effects of cancer or, more commonly the treatment itself, – i.e. radiation or chemo.

Related: Bone marrow transplant last chance

Lahti-Scranton and her three daughters will donate the money they raise by collecting returnable beverage containers for the rest of the month to Vancouver’s BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, earmarking it for pediatric oncology research.

If you would like to make a donation to BC Children’s Hospital, earmarked for pediatric cancer research, go online to bcchf.ca/conqueringcancer.

Those who can drop their beverage containers off may do so at Live Well Physiotherapy at 171 Shuswap Ave. in Salmon Arm (Down the hall on the left). Those who would like to have their beverage containers picked up should call Kim at 250-253-1967 or email kimlahti@hotmail.com.


@SalmonArm
barb.brouwer@saobserver.net

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