Nothing could be worse than hearing the words “your child has cancer.” Unless you are hearing those words in a country with very little resources or access to the latest treatments in cancer care. In 2009, Love Hope Strength hosted Kilimanjaro Rocks and supported the construction of the first dedicated children’s cancer center in Tanzania. In 2013, additional resources were sent to fund 2 additional doctors to care for the children. And now, 9 amazing women have joined forces to bring supplies and training to the nurses and support team in Tanzania.
Dr. Trish Scanlan of Dublin, a recent breast cancer survivor, has taken it upon herself to see that some very special kids in Tanzania are given a fighting chance. With help from funding from Children in Crossfire and the Love Hope Strength Foundation, the kids with cancer in her care have made a remarkable leap from having a mere 10-12% long term survival rate to close to 40-50%. But according to Dr. Trish, “That still means that 1 in 2 children die. Whereas in a resource rich setting, it’s 8 out of 10 children that survive. We have come a long way but there is still an awful lot of room for improvement.” That’s where this team of ladies comes in.
According to Dr. Trish, much of the improvement can come from educating the nurses, who, although they are skilled and compassionate, have not been given the tools or resources they need for some of the most basic chemotherapy and blood product administration guidelines, including safe IV placement, management of side effects, and much more.
Katie Sullivan Poppert, an oncology nurse from Denver, CO knows first hand the value of these cancer specific nursing skills. She has pledged to use her foundation, the ‘Craic Addicts: fighting cancer with laughter’ as a source for fundraising for Dr. Trish and the kids at the Muhimbili National Hospital. Kate has partnered with the Love Hope Strength Foundation, embracing their desire to use the resources available today in places that have little access to them rather than putting those funds into research.
A team of nurses, caregivers and childlife specialists will be going ON TOUR to Tanzania in February, 2014. They are each raising funds to pay for travel, supplies, and training resources that they will be hand delivering and teaching while on site. They are excited to, not only teach nursing skills, but to bring much needed compassion and laughter to the school set up by the Tumaini La Maisha, a program “dedicated to support children with Cancer by providing nonclinical services in Tanzania. These services include accommodation to the long stay hostel, school education, play therapy, life skills and income generation for adult parents/guardians.”
After all, as Dr. Trish says, “It’s one thing to give them drugs, but if you don’t give them hope, I don’t know that the drugs will always work.”
Watch the video below to learn more about Dr Trish and the center these amazing women are going to support.