What began as a number of regional support groups established in 1979 by parents who were caring for children with cancer, took on a new form at the beginning of the new millennium when they merged to make as big an impact as they could.
The Choc Childhood Cancer Foundation became a national organisation in 2000 and is today one of the country’s most established NGOs. In 2010, it was named the seventh most trusted and admired NGO in the Ask Afrika Trust Barometer Awards.
CIRCLE OF CARE
Its holistic approach to caring for children with cancer and supporting parents through the difficulties of looking after their sick children has touched the lives of thousands of people across the country.
Choc’s Circle of Care is a six-step approach to achieving its objective of supporting children with cancer and life-threatening blood disorders, and their families. It maintains the foundation’s involvement throughout the process of the disease, from detection to recovery and transition to normal life.
The first step in the Circle of Care is the detection phase, during which Choc trains members of the public in how to detect the early signs of cancer. This helps to improve response times, and so helps to catch the diseases early.
By the end of 2014, the organisation had facilitated the training of nearly 5 000 healthcare workers, traditional healers and community members in how to detect the early warning signs of cancer, allowing for early intervention.
Following detection, the organisation then focuses on diagnosis before the patient is hospitalised. During children’s hospitalisation, Choc provides practical and psychological support, which includes care bags and ward comforts as well as transportation, accommodation and access to its parents’ support groups.
During the fifth stage of the Circle of Care, the out-patient phase, Choc offers accommodation at one of 13 Choc houses for parents wanting to stay near their children and for children still in the out-patient stage of their recovery.
The final stage of the process involves helping children through the latter stages of their recovery and providing counselling to them and their parents regarding their reintegration into society after often lengthy hospital stays and bed rest.
Survivors are also able to become a part of the Survivors of Life-threatening Diseases (Solid) network.
The number of families relying on Choc for help in caring for their children has grown at a staggering rate, increasing the strain on the organisation’s resources.
It gets no subsidies from the government and relies heavily on the generosity of corporates and members of the public to meet its financial demands to support to such a large number of children.
If you would like to get involved and help Choc continue doing what it does, visit the foundation’s website and view its support page for details on how you can get involved, be it through volunteering or donating money to help it meet its expenses.
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