27 September, 2004
Launch Of 2005 Cancer Research For Kids Calendar
With its theme of “When I Grow Up,” the 2005 Cancer Research for Kids calendar has a strong focus on the positive.
The cover says it all with a cute Einstein-type kid holding aloft a microscope slide, alongside which are the words “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known…” Last year’s inaugural Cancer Research for Kids calendar was a sell out, raising $45,000 for the Children’s Cancer Research Group. The 2005 version, being launched this Friday, October 1 in Christchurch, is expected to be twice as popular and accordingly the print run has been doubled to 10,000 to meet expected demand.
A fundraising concept initiated by Vicky O’Connor from Westport, whose daughter Emily was diagnosed with the condition when she was two, the calendar this time features children in a variety of fun and novel settings with inspirational messages to compliment the graphics. “There are so many negatives for children and families in this situation, and it is so difficult for people to understand, so we wanted to give it a positive, hopeful push this time,” says Vicky.
“The children and their families are the most special and important part of our calendar, and I thank them for having the strength and courage to share their pictures and stories. “The clinical and nursing staff at the Child Cancer Unit and all the hospital staff are absolutely fantastic—they’re gifted and special people—and this was a chance to be positive about them too. “The calendar is dedicated to all our cancer kids in the hope that we can help more children like them reach their dreams of simply growing up, and to those who sadly no longer have the chance.”
Vicky says this year’s calendar launch will be “a great big party.” “I want to do something special for the families and children, with a special theme and a lunch, a real celebration. It will involve last year's children and their families too, although sadly we have lost some of our little friends off the 2004 calendar.”
The 2005 calendar will sell for $19.95 through a variety of outlets including the Westpac Bank branches, The Press, Child Cancer Foundation branches, Ronald McDonald House, Postie Plus shops, and within the Canterbury District Health Board.
Inside each calendar this time there will be a fridge magnet with the logo of the Children’s Cancer Research Group and details of how to contact them. Vicky hopes that people will retain this information even when the calendar has expired, and be encouraged to keep supporting the work being done by the research group. The photographs of the children in the new calendar were taken by John Kirk-Anderson and Don Scott of The Press, and David Geddes.
Dr Michael Sullivan, director of the Children’s Cancer Group at the Department of Paediatrics Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, says his group’s theme is “Research Saves Lives.” “And what Vicky is doing is something that supports our group.” Last year’s fundraising allowed him to attend a specialist tumour course in Scotland, and enabled the group to expand its research programme and buy additional laboratory equipment and computers.
He says funds raised this time will support a PhD student, permit the development of a new clinical research project, and support a new nursing research project.
The most exciting development for his group in the past year has been membership to the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), the largest children’s cancer research organisation in the world. “With over 240 member institutions in the USA, Canada, Australia and now New Zealand, membership of COG gives us access to the very best cancer treatments. “By doing good clinical and laboratory-based research many more children and young people with cancer will grow up to become ‘what they want to be.’