Highways and Infrastructure Minister Greg Ottenbreit on behalf of Health Minister Jim Reiter joined with parents and youth at a flag-raising ceremony at the Legislative Building on Thursday, September 19 to mark September as Childhood and Youth Cancer Awareness Month in Saskatchewan.
“Each year, we recognize September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to acknowledge the impact cancer has on young people, their families and our communities,” Ottenbreit said. “As the parent of a child lost to cancer, I support the efforts being made to improve the quality of care for patients, and ultimately, to find a cure.”
Representatives of affected families raised a childhood cancer awareness flag, and spoke of the impact that cancer has had on their families, along with the continued need for prevention and treatment. Childhood and Youth Cancer Awareness Month is observed each year in recognition of the impact that cancer has on the lives of children, youth, and families across Saskatchewan.
“Every time I see the gold ribbon worn during Childhood and Youth Awareness Month, I think of the families whose children have been affected,” Regina childhood cancer awareness advocate Sherri Melnychuk said. “We ask people to support childhood cancer research, more effective treatments, and improved care for our children.”
Melnychuk is the Regina representative of Small But Mighty, an organization that helps raise awareness of childhood cancer. The Melnychuks lost their four-year-old daughter Ava Hope to acute myeloid leukemia in 2011. The number of new pediatric patients seen provincially at Saskatchewan’s two cancer centres typically ranges from 40 to 60 each year.
Pediatric oncologists, nurses, social workers, and support staff work together to provide high-quality care to ensure the best possible outcomes. In Canada today, approximately 83 per cent of children diagnosed with cancer will survive.