Dynamic youth advocate Alex La Rossa, aged 17, continued raising awareness in childhood cancer awareness month, this time at NSW Parliament on 14 September.
Members from both houses listened intently to Alex who spoke articulately about his diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when he was 13 years of age.
“My treatment should have lasted nine months, but I managed to suffer every known side effect, so it extended over two years,” Alex said.
“I had chemotherapy, steroids and radiotherapy to ‘cure’ my cancer. As a result of taking steroids I was in a wheel chair for a year and half and have since had a full double hip replacement.”
Associate Professor Claire Wakefield from the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick, also presented on the research project, she is leading, helping survivors of cancer, like Alex.
“With all of our success in treating children with cancer, we have created what I call an epidemic of survival,” said guest speaker Associate Professor Claire Wakefield.
The project estimates there are approximately 20,000 now adult, childhood cancer survivors needing assistance in re-engaging with their health care to be aware of the potential risks associated with the treatments received as children.
The Re-Engage Project
is proudly supported by The Kids’ Cancer Project and researchers aim to transition childhood cancer survivors through the hospital system into adulthood. The charity has invested over $4 million across 26 projects this year with late effects and life after cancer, a key research priority.
In concluding, Associate Professor Wakefield quoted Associate Professor Richard Cohn, Head Clinical Oncology and Long Term Follow up Program at the Kids Cancer Centre:
“Cure is no longer enough: the goal of care should be to produce young survivors who are free of handicaps caused by their disease or its treatment, who are able to keep up and compete with their peers, who are employable, insurable and able to take their rightful place in society.”
Our sincere thanks are extended to our generous host the Member for Coogee, Mr Bruce Notley-Smith.