This blog is going to be a little bit different to our typical blogs. This month we wanted to focus on something that, though not directly related to financial planning, is instead about a topic we all feel strongly connected to. Because, even with the very best financial plan in place, there are always going to be unexpected events in life that we can’t plan for.
Last week my social media was awash with back to school pictures. So many pictures, so many cute kids looking super excited for their first day of school.
But there was one photo that was a little bit different to the rest. And it made my heart hurt.
It was a picture of an empty doorway. Empty because the little boy who should have been standing there proudly showing off his uniform, who should have been a little bit nervous but mostly excited for his first day of school, who should have been able to hold his big sisters hand on the walk up to the school gates, that little boy was called Luke and he sadly lost his courageous battle with cancer just a few short months ago, aged just 5 and a half.
As well as being the start of the school year, September is also Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Luke’s mum should have been able to watch her two beautiful babies head off to school together last week. Instead, she had to hold herself together enough to walk her 7-year-old daughter to school. Just the two of them. Unimaginable.
She posted the picture of her doorway, alongside a beautifully written post, aimed at helping to generate consciousness of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and the facts surrounding childhood cancer.
Because awareness helps increase funding which helps support the research into cures.
And even though it’s heartbreakingly too late for her son - her very special 5 year old boy who fought the bravest of battles and taught those of us who were lucky enough to know him a lesson in courage – she is still driving awareness in the hope that one day there will be a cure that will mean no other parents will have to travel the same unthinkable journey she is on.
These are just some of the scary facts she shared:
Worldwide, 300,000 children (aged 0-19) are diagnosed with cancer every single year.
Worldwide, 90,000 children (aged 0-19) die from cancer every single year.
IN THE UK ALONE: 12 children (aged 0-19) are diagnosed with cancer every single day. 365 days of the year. That's over 4000 children every year. Just in the UK...
To break that down a bit more: 1 in every 500 children in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer before their 14th birthday.
Let that sink in: 1 in every 500 children in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer before their 14th birthday. If you are a parent, when you next find yourself at the school gates, count the number of children around you. About 500?
UK survival - If a child relapses and dies after 5 years of being in remission, they still count as a cancer survivor in the 5-year survival statistics of 82%. But they're dead? They didn't survive. Cancer killed them. These survival figures are misleading.
These are BIG numbers. Currently there is no known cause of childhood cancer, no way to screen for it and no way to prevent it.
All we can do is try to support funding for research into treatments in the hope to one day find that cure, and support those that have been diagnosed with cancer to ease their journeys in any way we can.
Our charity partner for 2019 - Spread a Smile - are not a cancer research charity but are a wonderful charity that brighten the days of children who are suffering from serious and terminal illnesses, including cancer. They take magicians, musicians, fairies, poets, singers, face painters, artists and therapy dogs into hospitals across London to bring much needed joy, light and laughter to these courageous children and teenagers. Their entertainers provide a diversion from the boredom and monotony and help young patients to brave their treatment. They brought many smiles to Luke’s face during his time at Great Ormond Street, and helped bring a little light relief during the darkest of days.
Sam has put a team together to raise money for Spread a Smile by running the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October. He’s even roped in family members from as far as Texas, US to help them hit their target of raising £2000. If you would like to sponsor them, please click here.
For more information on Spread a Smile please click here.
For more information on Childhood Cancer Awareness Month please click here.
And if you would like information on donating blood and/or platelets please click here.