December is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. During this festive season, charities are working tirelessly to highlight the problems faced by young people all around the world suffering from cancer. Every day in the UK, 10 children will be diagnosed with the condition; some will never recover.
Whilst the most common forms of cancer affecting women are breast or lung cancer, young girls are more likely to fall victim to Leukaemia or Hodgkin's Lymphoma. These types of cancer can attack the whole body and successful treatment is dependent on an early diagnosis. Being aware of these symptoms is half the challenge, as they can often manifest as simple headaches or a prolonged lack of energy.
For parents, there can be nothing harder than being told that your child has cancer. It means long stretches in hospital, witnessing exhausting treatments, and living only with the hope that once it is all over, your little girl will be able to lead a normal, healthy life. Groups like Macmillan Cancer Support and the Children's Cancer Recovery Foundation work hard to provide support for parents and their children. This is particularly true during the festive season when they organise family fun days and run an annual toy drive for kids spending Christmas in hospital.
Other groups in the UK (Little Princess Trust) and the USA (Wigs for Kids) work to help girls who have battled through their treatment and are now in remission. One of the most traumatic experiences for girls undergoing chemotherapy treatment is watching helplessly while they lose their hair. Thanks to kind donations, these girls can have natural hair wigs. The wigs are made from donated hair and their snug fit ensures they won't slip off when children are out playing with their friends. These wigs are not an exercise in vanity, but rather are about helping to restore these brave girls' confidence. So if you are planning a radical new look for the new year, perhaps you could consider donating your ponytail.
There are many – far too many – girls who will be hoping Santa brings them something more than a new doll or the latest iPhone for Christmas. But there is growing hope: 8 out of 10 children diagnosed with cancer today will go on to live for at least five years. You can get involved with one of the many cancer support groups working around the world and help raise awareness of childhood cancer.
Girl Museum Inc.