Making a difference in the children’s fight against cancer

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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A HELPING HAND: Leilani Jackson (far left) and Luzaria Vaai (fifth from left) with staff of the hospital.

A HELPING HAND: Leilani Jackson (far left) and Luzaria Vaai (fifth from left) with staff of the hospital.

There is a growing number of children in Samoa who are receiving chemotherapy.  So any assistance provided for them is always welcomed. 

So says Dr. Litara Esera of the Pediatric Ward at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole hospital. 

Last Thursday, the Project Paeds Samoa and Outrun Cancer Team, through their Savai’i run donated a hospital bed, a fridge for the medication and a trolley, for the children undergoing chemotherapy. 

The items came from the Outrun Cancer Team which raised it through the Savai’i run. It was spearheaded by Leilani Jackson who was involved with her son, Maurice Moli Sapatu. 

Last month, Ms. Jackson announced that she’ll be completing the 4km distance, and appealed for public assistance in funding the marathon.

She made it clear at the time that the proceeds would be donated to Childhood Cancer.

A member of the Outrun cancer, which was created three years ago, Ms. Jackson told the Samoa Observer that some childhood cancers are curable and treatable.

When the equipment was presented on Thursday, Dr. Esera was thankful. 

“The bed, the fridge and trolley are a welcomed donation to ensure the children receiving chemo have their own special and safe space,” she said. 

“This ensures that the risk of infection is lower for the children. Children who are receiving chemotherapy are immune-compromised so every opportunity to reduce the risk we observe.” 

Dr. Esera was joined by the nursing team of CNC Matagofie Alofaga, RNs Pretty and Pina Kaisa in expressing their appreciation for the assistance.

According to Dr. Esera, Project Paeds has been a very supportive small organization that has really provided where the need is with the children. 

She initially asked the project for transport funds but realized that the children really need a space for themselves.

Presenting the items was Luzaria Vaai a member of the Outrun Cancer team. 

 “I became involved because I see the children when I come to hand out the cupcakes and I always thought that I can make things better by doing what I can do with what I have,” she said. 

 “My aunty entered me in the Outrun Cancer team to run 4km’s. It was hard but presenting this today I think I will do it again, but next time for something bigger that the children with cancer will want and need.”

Ms. Jackson and Ms. Vaai of Project Paeds are extremely grateful to all their family and friends in Samoa and New Zealand who donated.

Ms. Jackson added that some childhood cancers are curable and treatable.

“Did you know that some form of treatment of childhood cancer is available in Samoa?” she said. 

“For many of us, we may have experienced first-hand the loss of a family member or a close friend to cancer. 

“Through the social media revolution, popular spaces like Facebook or twitter, people often publically declare their stance to fight cancer, remember those dear to our heart who are no longer with us and pay homage to the champions who have survived cancer.

“These stories resonate with us one way or another.

They lead us to reflect on our own journey, inspire us to value life, and consider how one can contribute to supporting and remembering the parent, spouse, sibling, child or close friend who has been affected by cancer. It is their heroic stories that draw us together.” 

As reported earlier Outrun Cancer is an initiative to raise awareness of cancer and healthy living. It is also an opportunity to raise funds for certain initiatives that support people living with cancer in Samoa. 

“Outrun Cancer has been fortunate to utilise the Savai’i Marathon as a platform to push the cancer awareness and healthy living.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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