Many people do not realize that ringing the bell after a child's final treatment for cancer is often not the end of the story. Almost two out of three children experience some sort of long-term effect from cancer but these battles are not often publicized. June 6th is a day to counter that as we join our community in celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day.
Medical science has come a long, long way from the days of leeches and "cure-all" tonics. This means that a diagnosis of cancer is not what it once was even though there is definitely still work to be done. These achievements in medicine have pushed the survivorship rate for children's cancer to almost 80%1.
This is great news as that means more and more kids every day are pushing through their fights with cancer and going on to live long full lives. To honor those who have fought their battle, National Cancer Survivors Day was created.
Originally conceived by Merril Hastings at the second national conference of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, National Cancer Survivors was first celebrated in June of 1988. Traditionally held on the first Sunday of June, it is a day to pause and remember the victories those in our community have achieved but also that survivorship does come with its own journey and struggles.
The Valerie Fund knows how important it is to monitor long-term symptoms and side effects in our kids as they become young adults and move into adulthood. Our Survivorship Program is a crucial part of the care we provide to our patients and families. To learn more about what our Survivorship Program offers, you can CLICK HERE.
Our Valerie Fund Children's Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center has also created a program specifically dedicated to their patients after the primary care has ended. Having celebrated its second anniversary in December 2020, MAGIC stands for Marvel and Grit Inspired Cancer Survivorship Clinic.
The MAGIC Survivorship Clinic team at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Childhood cancer survivors are the warriors. Their grit is inspirational. Our cancer survivorship team helps them embrace their lives beyond cancer and marvel around the world!
- Teena Bhatla, MD; Director, Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
This clinic focuses on patients who are two or more years post-treatment for childhood cancers or stem cell transplantation. A team of more than ten medical and psychosocial clinicians is called upon to provide their specific expertise in guiding these patients down the road after cancer. To learn more about MAGIC, you can CLICK HERE.
And because "once a Valerie Fund kid always a Valerie Fund kid," survivorship care doesn't stop at our caregivers in the Centers. Our own patients also see the benefit of survivorship care and want to help each other. Many of our kids go on to the medical and social work fields having been inspired by their caregivers during treatment. One very special patient, Nicole, returned to The Valerie Fund to host a wellness presentation specifically geared to survivors and their experiences. CLICK HERE to see what Nicole did for her fellow survivors and learn some of her tips for painting a healthy lifestyle going forward.
The importance of survivorship care can also be seen and felt by the partners we work with. JAG-ONE Physical Therapy has been an important part of the Valerie FUnd Walk & 5K for many years now. Their partnership on the 5K portion of the day is invaluable and they are always willing to give back to our kids. You can read about what they are doing for National Cancer Survivors Day by CLICKING HERE.
As you can see, survivorship is an integral part of how The Valerie Fund treats the whole patient. It might be cliche to say that every day for us is National Cancer Survivors Day but there is definitely truth to that. We will of course give a special cheer and an extra hug (or two or three) to our Valerie Fund kids on June 6th for National Cancer Survivors Day and we hope you do as well.