We are grateful to all who partner with us to combat the No. 1 disease killer of children in America.
Cancer attacks more than 600 children here in the Carolinas every year. One in five will not survive, and most who do will experience chronic, sometimes lifelong health complications.
What’s more, children living in rural areas or poverty are at three times greater risk of late diagnosis, inadequate treatment and death.
The discovery of cancer in a child is crushing, and it descends on the entire family. In two-income households, one parent immediately leaves work for caregiving, and family income plummets just as costs soar. Families are overwhelmed.
Data shows that 75% of childhood cancer families endure the loss of half or more income. Medical crises are the leading cause of divorce and bankruptcy.
To make matters worse, unlike adult cancer care that is so widely offered, pediatric oncology care is available in only three places in South Carolina and only six in North Carolina. This presents an added burden on families struggling with lost work/wages, unexpected treatment and homecare costs.
In the Florence area, the nearest care is in Charleston or Columbia, but many children require more specialized treatments available only in New York, Houston or beyond.
Our work is ensuring that every Carolina child has timely and complete access to treatment regardless of how often or far they must travel. They are referred to us by the pediatric oncology treatment centers, and within 24 hours we reach out to arrange a visit when we can determine the family’s special needs and circumstances.
Our support is immediate, comprehensive and continuous until the child turns 21. We provide mileage reimbursements, airfares and ground transportation, lodging, meals away from home and essential homecare needs. If families fall into financial peril and are threatened with utility shut-offs, auto repossessions or evictions, we intercede to help them find stability. If a child is lost, we help with funeral expenses and grief counseling.
Throughout the year, we stage events and activities to connect our families and overcome the sense of isolation. Our CAMP VICTORY provides a residential experience for the whole family — time away from the daily routine of hospitals, treatments, lab tests and anxiety.
Launched in 2001 in Spartanburg, our organization launched a major expansion effort in 2016 and gradually became a statewide resource for all of South Carolina and North Carolina. On a daily basis, we coordinate our support efforts with all of the pediatric oncology treatment centers here in the Carolinas and those beyond where Carolina children receive specialized care.
We are grateful for agencies such as the United Way of Florence County that enable us to support these children with their funding. When you make a donation to us, your gift stays local. That is our promise to you. We organize all of our family support on a county-by-county basis, and your support will help us fulfill the commitments we make every time the phone rings — every time the childhood cancer scourge strikes.
Please take a few minutes to learn more about childhood cancer and our unique approach to supporting Florence families and others all across the Carolinas. Visit us at childrenscancerpartners.org please.
Laura Allen is the executive director of the Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas.