It was a beautiful Mother’s Day at the Jenny Calderwood Fun Run held at Peterhouse School.
Many thanks to all or the organizers, supporters, sponsors and participants! Thank you so much for the incredible work behind the scenes by so many people. Our thanks go to the Rector of Peterhouse, Howard Blackitt, for being so gracious in allowing us to continue to do the run.
Thanks also to the Peterhouse Community for their total support of this amazing event – from the bands to the bagpipes, to all the boys and girls who participated with such enthusiasim, and the incredible Housemaster’s and House mistresses who rallied the different “houses” and created such great competition in raising money. Last, and in no means least, to the amazing ,incredible, organising team, headed by Margot Worswick. Each of you amazing ladies created one of our best fundraising events of the year – you are real pro’s.
What an amazing event! It is with great pleasure, gratitude and excitement we can finally inform you all that all of us have raised $50,138.35!!
Thank you to all the schools, corporates, community clubs, individuals, groups of friends, restaurants who wore orange, planned events, participated in events, gathered friends and family, and supported their employees – all in an effort to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to save the lives ofchildren with cancer in Zimbabwe!
Play is what a child does best.
And, Kidzcan volunteers do just that with the children in the hospital playroom every weekday morning. Kidzcan’s group of dedicated volunteers who visit the children to play with them, read to them, or lead them in activities, are the back-bone of the work that Kidzcan does. They provide the much-needed distraction for the children from their illness, loneliness, and pain.
Sally is Kidzcan’s volunteer coordinator. She not only spends time each week playing with children in the ward playroom, but also attends to the needs of our volunteers – liaising with and registering new volunteers, keeping the group in communication, and leading our monthly volunteer meetings. Here is her feedback when asked why she volunteers.
I had spare time on my hands and knew that I would like to be involved with Kidzcan, so offered my services. This has opened up a new world to me. Initially I was concerned that being with such sick children would be difficult. At the same time, I also knew that if in any way I could make their lives just that little bit better then I had to give it a go.
Going into the playroom and being with the children for a couple of hours a week is an incredibly humbling and uplifting experience. I know it is important that these children get some ‘time out’ from what is happening to them and are able to participate in activities (whether it be painting, playing card games, playing ‘quiet’ physical games, singing, etc.) to take their minds off their illnesses. When I see their joy when we play with them, it makes my efforts to facilitate this all worthwhile.
I have always felt that it is important to give something to others, especially to those less fortunate than I am. But I realized it would be a commitment, and unless I was prepared to fully commit then I felt I should not offer my services, whatever they may be. I am also a person who generally feels more comfortable when given specific tasks to do rather than seeing what is needed to be done so in the past have been cautious about offering my services.
Volunteering at Kidzcan has put me in touch with amazing folk who give so selflessly of their lives/time and for this I am also very grateful.
“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” I think of this quote from the mouth of a 4 year old, while I sit talking with Karen and her family. How tired they must have been over the past year, and yet, they are all smiling and enjoying time together.
Karen is 12 years old. She was diagnosed with Leukemia last year. Her mother remembers the day vividly. It was November 18, 2011. Karen had been unwell and had a lump on her neck. On the advice of her local doctor, Karen’s mother, Maidei, took Karen to Parirenyatwa Hospital. They travelled from Norton, 45 kilometres outside of Harare. Karen was frail, so she was immediately admitted to the hospital. Both Karen and her mom stayed at the hospital for over a week, waiting for the results, knowing there was a chance that Karen had cancer.
Meanwhile, Maidei’s sister, Daderai, was at home taking care of Karen’s younger brother and the other household members. Daderai and Maidei, work together selling vegetables and fish in Norton. They travel to Mbare, Harare’s largest market, to buy the vegetables and other items, and then to Darwindale, where they buy the fish. These sisters are very close, not only in business, but in their family lives. They were living together and raising their children together when Karen fell ill.
Daderai not only helped at home, but also spent many days visiting Karen in the hospital, where Karen has spent many months over the past year. When Karen came down with an infection in February, she was readmitted and remained there for almost 3 months. She then came back for another 6 weeks when her health failed again in July. Both times, the doctors stopped chemotherapy until she was stable. It was during these times that both Madei and her sister worried that Karen would not make it.
Karen’s aunt tells me about these times and the point at which Karen said, “Help me God, I need a rest. I now surrender.” Such poignant words from a young child. But Karen is a stoic pre-teen. Not many words from her, but what she does share is thoughtful.
Karen leaves the room and comes back with this photo – it’s of her when she’s at one of her lowest points. She wants me to share it so that others can see that you can go from this to feeling well and strong again.
Karen is a typical tween who wants a cell phone so that she can join Facebook and What’s Up – to chat with her uncle in South Africa, she tells me.
Karen is back in school, and seems to have not missed a beat. After missing 3 terms, she has managed to catch up and reenter at her grade level. Her mother transferred Karen to a school that has smaller class sizes after learning of the importance of keeping Karen away from possible sources of infection – crowds tend to be a major culprit. Not only that, but they have moved out of the house they were sharing with Daderai and her family, to further reduce Karen’s risk of infection. This must be a financial burden for Madei, but a sacrifice she is willing to make for her child.
Karen mentions her best friend, Panashe (who happens to be Daderai’s grand-daughter). I ask her what they like to do, and she tells me, “play with dolls, do puzzles and play Uno.” She tells me that she learned to play Uno at the hospital. “Sally, Christine and Vimbai taught me how to play.” She says. “They used to play with me when I was stuck in hospital. And, I taught Panashe.”
Sally, Vimbai and Christine are Kidzcan Ward Volunteers. They visit the children on the wards each week and play games, do arts and crafts, or simply read to the more frail children. Their gift of spending time with the children continues to give long after a child leaves the ward.
Karen seems strong and on the track to survival. She will continue chemotherapy for 2 more years, traveling back and forth from Norton for monthly treatments.
Madei hopes to afford a bone marrow transplant for Karen, however the nearest facility for this is in South Africa. Once she raises enough funds, they will go down there, stay with Madei’s brother, find a donor match, and get Karen the bone marrow transplant. This is beyond the scope of services Kidzcan provides, but we continue to provide services here in ZImbabwe. We hope that Madei and Karen are successful in their efforts to secure funding for the transplant. When it happens, Kidzcan will be here waiting to help when they return to Zimbabwe for their follow up treatments.
Eight young men from Peterhouse Boys School had the pleasure of meeting some of our heroes on the ward during their visit to the A4 special ward at Parirenyatwa last week. They will take the message of their experience back to the entire Peterhouse school community. Their teachers, Barbie Van Heerden and Taurai Mhete, who lead the students on community engagement and social responsibility projects, escorted the group to the wards.
Because the boys are very aware of the seriousness of cancer, they were pleasantly surprised by the cheerfulness and bravery of our kids on the wards. Instead of leaving depressed, they left with a feeling of hope for the children!
Thank you for taking the time to come and meet the kids you will be running for next year at the Jenny Calderwood Memorial Run!
|ADMINISTRATION COSTS||16 073.02|
|EDUCATION & EARLY DETECTION||31 571.60|
|BLOOD & BLOOD PRODUCTS||13 947.50|
|LABORATORY TESTS||11 337.00|
|HEART TESTS||4 440.00|
|PRESCRIPTION DRUGS||1 217.00|
|TRANSPORT COSTS||7 252.00|
|TOTAL EXPENSES FOR 2012
||$ 203 745.11