THE BRAVERY of children with cancer across the North East is to be recognised with a special award, as new figures released by Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens offer increased hope of survival.
According to the charity, the rate of children dying from cancer in the North East has fallen by 28 per cent since the early 2000s*.
Thanks to more research and better treatments, the latest figures show that death rates for under 15s in the North East have decreased from around 23 deaths per million children a decade ago to around 17 deaths per million children today*.
The news comes as Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens launches its annual Star Awards, in partnership with TK Maxx, across the region.
The awards, which celebrate the courage of children affected by cancer, are backed by a host of famous faces including television personality Sam Faiers, Olympic long jumper and medallist Greg Rutherford, and professional dancers Karen and Kevin Clifton.
Around 65 children are diagnosed with cancer each year in the North East**.
Relatives and friends of young cancer patients and survivors who deserve special recognition are being urged to nominate them for the accolade in the run up to Christmas at cruk.org/kidsandteens.
Unlike many other children’s awards, there is no judging panel because Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens and TK Maxx believe that each and every child who faces cancer is extra special.
Recipients get a unique trophy, a £50 TK Maxx gift card and a certificate signed by celebrities.
While the figures released today underline the progress being made in the fight against children’s cancers, around 5 children still die from cancer every year in the North East***.
That’s why Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens is raising vital funds to accelerate research into new, better and kinder treatments for children, teens and young adults with cancer.
The charity supports the work of researchers who are working hard to understand the causes of children’s cancer and the faulty genes that drive it.
Its Children’s Cancer Trials Team co-ordinates groundbreaking cancer trials for children and young people in specialist treatment centres across the UK. These trials make pioneering new therapies available to children with cancer and are helping more survive.
Cancer Research UK is also funding work searching for drugs to block faulty genes that cause a type of cancer that starts from nerve tissue called neuroblastoma. The charity is also funding studies improving treatment options for children with a type of kidney cancer called Wilm’s tumour and work to understand more about how leukaemia develops and why it can return after treatment.
Sam Faiers, Television personality said: “I’m so proud to support The Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Awards which honours the amazingly brave children, teenagers and young adults facing cancer. Around five children are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK, which is why we need to do everything we can to help and support the Kids & Teens campaign to find kinder treatments and cures.”
Lisa Millett, Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens spokesperson for the North East, said: “It is a privilege to be able to recognise the courage of children with cancer with a Star Award and we would like to encourage anyone who knows an inspirational youngster to nominate them now.
“Although we’re losing fewer young lives to cancer, a lot more needs to be done to find new and better treatments.
“And as more children survive cancer, it’s especially important that we concentrate on improving their quality of life after treatment. Many children who survive cancer will live with long-term side effects from their treatment which may have an impact on them as adults. So it’s vital that we find treatments that are not only better at treating the cancer but also have fewer side effects.
“Cancer Research UK’s investment in clinical trials for children with cancer has been a major factor in developing today’s treatments and it’s pivotal to ongoing research that will offer new hope to children with cancer and their families”.
TK Maxx’s support of Cancer Research UK’s Kids & Teens Star Awards is part of a wider partnership with the charity, which has raised around £27.1 million since 2004, through stock and cash donations.
Around £23 million of this has specifically supported research into children’s cancers, making the retailer the biggest corporate funder of research into childhood cancers in the UK.
Jo Murphy, Assistant Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for TK Maxx, said: “The Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Awards are a fantastic way of acknowledging the bravery and determination of children who have faced a cancer diagnosis.
“TK Maxx is very proud to be supporting the awards and helping to raise vital awareness and funds for research. Thousands more people are alive today thanks to the charity’s work into children’s cancers.”
Cancer Research UK’s Kids & Teens Star Awards are open to all under-18s who have cancer or who have been treated for the disease in the last five years.
To nominate a child for an award, donate or fundraise in support of Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens, visit cruk.org/kidsandteens.