JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Sanad Charitable Association is raising awareness of childhood cancer through its February campaign launching tomorrow under the slogan “Sanad for Our Children.”
More than 60 government bodies and private entities are set to take part over the course of the month.
In cooperation with the private sector in the city of Riyadh and the Eastern region, the month-long campaign aims to create public awareness of childhood cancer and the various methods to support children with the disease and their families.
Sanad is a nonprofit children’s cancer support association which aims to support children’s cancer centers in Saudi Arabia with educational programs and financial resources, to provide social and housing services to patients and their families.
According to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, the disease affects about 1,070 children annually in the Kingdom.
Medical oncology specialist Dr. Ali Al-Bayer told Arab News: “Cancer in children is quite different from that of adults in terms of detection and the need to adapt to a new lifestyle.”
He added: “Awareness of childhood cancer targets the families of those brave children, and informs them about how they can detect the symptoms or onset of the disease.”
Al-Bayer said that most cancer detected in childhood manifests congenitally and that leukemia, cancer of the blood, is the most diagnosed form of cancer in children.
Sanad Charitable Association is keen to expand the activities of the campaign to reach all segments of society, including government and private agencies, hospitals, commercial centers, and even restaurants and cafes.
Director-General of Sanad Reem Al-Hejailan said that the campaign will include activities organized by the association for inpatients in oncology centers, and external activities for children recovering from cancer.
She added that Sanad organizes an annual blood donation campaign for the benefit of children’s tumor centers in cooperation with King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center.
Al-Hejailan said that awareness campaigns would be held in universities, commercial centers and business gatherings, to promote the services and programs of the association and spread a culture of volunteerism and assistance during February.
As a global collaborative initiative, Feb. 15 each year marks International Childhood Cancer Day, which aims to promote a better understanding of how to change the lives of children cancer patients and their families, and how to resolve inequity in cancer care.
On the day, Riyadh will use skyline lighting to show the international symbol for childhood cancer awareness, the golden ribbon.