Did you know that approximately 850 Canadian children aged 0 –14 develop cancer each year? Childhood Cancers account for less than 1 percent of all cancers diagnosed in Canada, but it remains the most common disease related cause of death in children and adolescents aged 1-19 and the second leading cause of all deaths among children aged 1-14. The number of deaths is one-sixth the number of cases. While cancer incidence rate in children has been relatively constant since 1985, the cancer mortality rate has started to decline thanks to research funded by a variety of childhood cancer charity organizations. That is why it is essential that people recognize the need to fund these charities and help the children affected by cancer and their families deal with the disease and the treatment protocols.
Over the past 16 months, I have been very focused on childhood cancer after being introduced to many cancer champions during my reign as Miss Teen Ontario East 2014 and now as Miss Teenage Eastern Ontario 2015. I have been able to spend time in the Oncology ward at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and I witnessed what these courageous young champions go through every day just to survive. I have volunteered with various childhood cancer charities and assisted in their quest to help kids suffering
through such a devastating diagnosis. Many of the charities that I was introduced to emphasized the need to create awareness of childhood cancer and the need to support both the charities assisting those children and their families that have been affected by the disease, as well as those charities that fund critical medical research studies. There is a definite need to develop new and more precise treatment protocols and in depth gene studies to help to find a cure for the various types of childhood cancer.
As a regional titleholder, I have been working throughout the Eastern Ontario Region with the various charities to raise awareness of, and raise funds for, childhood cancer. I am anxious to take my platform to the national level!
If chosen as Miss Teenage Canada 2015, I would like to institute the following CHARITY PLATFORM PLAN to promote my charity. My plan is as follows:
- UTILIZE Social Media to Promote and Inform
Social media is an intricate tool in the success of my Charity program. It is an excellent way to spread the work to the masses. Posting on Facebook, putting tags on Twitter and utilizing website links are easy, free and reach a vast audience. Keeping these outlets updated and current is a wonderful way to promote my Childhood Cancer Awareness Campaign.
I incorporated my Miss Teenage Eastern Ontario BLOG into my project plan and I have done a SERIES called BE THE GOLD on my blog to promote to a wide audience. Click on the CHARITY PLATFORM category on my Blog to access my BE THE GOLD series. I have been receiving excellent feedback on these blog posts.
- Organize and Host Fundraising Events for Childhood Cancer Charities
In order to get my message across to others, I would organize various fundraising events for Childhood cancer charities; volleyball tournaments, trivia nights, seniors teas etc. Teams and individuals who attend or participate in the events are made aware of Childhood Cancer Charities and awareness is promoted through word of mouth advertising and brochures and posters that I would post at all events.
- Establish a Relationship with Regional/National media to Promote event
An important part of any Charity platform would be to establish a relationship with the media. I would meet with media representatives, build a relationship, introduce my charity platform, invite them to an event and encourage them to write an article or do an interview.
- Attend Charity Events for Childhood Cancer Charities
To prove my commitment to my platform, I registered as a volunteer with several of the Childhood Cancer Charity organizations in my region. Given the opportunity, I would also do this to the national charities. Registering as a volunteer means that I am immediately contacted when they have a charity or fundraising event planned. To date, I have performed all types of roles at these events from hosting, to cooking, to organizing kids games, to handing out brochures and even golfing, just to name a few.
- Encourage others to Get Involved
It is my goal to take at least one new volunteer with me every time I attend one of the Childhood Cancer charity events. It just takes a push to give another young person the initiative to get involved. Once they attend the event, meet the champions, and understand what the charities provide to the children and their families, they are hooked.
- Bring Impact to a Presentation
Awake the compassion and emotion in the audience! In order to bring the message home
and make an impact, I would bring one of my cancer champion friends to speak and tell their story. One of the most impacting visual presentations I have seen is one of my Cancer Champion’s Courage Bead Necklace; A program initiated by the Candlelighters where a child diagnosed is given a leather string at diagnosis and then every time they have a procedure, blood poke, hospital stay etc. they are given the coloured bead that represents that particular facet of their protocol. They add beads through their treatment protocol and in the end the bead necklace tells their story. These necklaces are heart-wrenching and very impacting. You can SEE what the child has gone through by looking at their bead necklaces.
- Make them Remember My Message
In order to achieve this goal, I have made Gold Cancer Awareness Ribbons that I distribute at my various appearances accompanied with a card indicating my platform. These awareness ribbons provide a visual reminder of the need to donate to a childhood cancer charity.
IN conclusion, I am hoping that by choosing “CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS” as my charity platform, I will be able to spread my passion and dedication of helping the young Cancer Champions who have changed my outlook on life, to an even wider audience of volunteers and financial contributors. It is my hope that a continued focus on Childhood cancer will help to create new and less invasive treatment protocols for kids with cancer and will also result in more advanced and generous financial assistance programs for the children and their families dealing with this dreaded disease.
I GO GOLD for Childhood cancer! WILL YOU?