The Little Fighters Cancer Trust (LFCT) is a South African Non-Profit Organisation that offers various types of support to Children with Cancer and their Families throughout South Africa.
We are the VOICE of Childhood Cancer Awareness and the HANDS of Childhood Cancer Support!
We offer assistance to Children with Cancer via the Family unit as well as to Children with Cancer and their Parents in Paediatric Oncology Hospital Wards.
We help out in whatever way we can, including with warm blankets, clothing, shoes, groceries, electricity, transport and temporary accommodation where possible. We also offer emotional support where required.
Our Beneficiaries come from all walks of life, but most of them are poor households, single-income or granny-run households and many of them also come from the outlying or rural areas.
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Describe in detail what your Organisation does:
Providing Practical, Emotional & Educational Support to Children with Cancer and their Families and Raising Public Awareness of Childhood Cancer Early Warning Signs across South Africa.
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust strives to relieve some of the heartache and difficulties faced by childhood cancer affected families, guided by the following goals:
• Providing support with a holistic approach, ensuring that individuals, families and communities are included.
• Treating each child with cancer and his/ her family as individuals as we understand and respect the uniqueness of each situation.
• The preservation of individual dignity and pride.
• Promoting and advocating National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase the amount of diagnosed childhood cancer cases in South Africa, as an increase in earlier diagnosis will result in a higher survival rate for children with cancer in South Africa.
The services the Little Fighters Cancer Trust provides can be divided into three main areas.
1. Hospital Ward Support
2. Individual Childhood Cancer Affected Family Support
3. Promoting and Advocating Childhood Cancer Awareness
1. Hospital Ward Support
Our Hospital Ward Support Projects cover ten Paediatric Oncology Hospital Wards. With the help of the staff on the Paediatric Oncology Wards, we generally do our outreaches on Outpatient Clinic Days, as this often doubles our reach, per hospital.
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust does outreaches in the following hospitals as often as possible:
• Red Cross War Memorial Hospital, Cape Town
• Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town
• Provincial Hospital, Port Elizabeth
• Universitas Hospital, Bloemfontein
• Steve Biko Hospital, Pretoria
• UNITAS Hospital Pretoria
• Donald Gordon Hospital, Johannesburg
• Charlotte Maxexe Hospital, Johannesburg
• Albert Luthuli Hospital, Durban
• Grey’s Hospital, Pietermaritzburg
By implementing Hospital Ward Support Projects on Outpatient Clinic Days for maximum reach, most of our Hospital Ward Projects reach over 2 000 children with cancer, and in most cases, all their bedside care-givers as well.
LFCT responds to requests by Hospitals to assist with needs they might have in the Wards, in addition to our regular Hospital Ward Projects which include:
• Bag of Hope
A comprehensive Support Project which sees both the Child with Cancer as well as his/her bedside carer receive a bag filled with essentials. Many children are diagnosed far away from treatment centres, and within hours, a child and parent can end up in a different Province altogether, having had no chance to pack the bare basics needed for an extended hospital stay.
• Get WRAPPED
Get WRAPPED is a blanket collection and distribution Project which culminates in the winter months. We can only distribute new goods to Children with cancer in hospital Wards, as they have no immune systems, and are highly prone to infections.
We will always attempt to deliver blankets on Outpatient Clinic Days, and will ensure that each Mother / Father / Caregiver at a Child’s bedside, is gifted with a warm blanket as well.
In excess of 2 500 new blankets are distributed Nationally to Children with Cancer and their bedside care-givers in Paediatric Oncology Hospital Wards.
• Snug as a Bug
Snug as a Bug is a Project aimed at providing warm, well-fitting, new clothing to Children with Cancer in Paediatric Oncology Hospital Wards. As many children end up in these wards without their Parent having had the time to pack for an extended hospital stay, many children do not have the basic items of clothing.
Snug as a Bug provides for all ages, from 0-3 months, to 18n years of age.
Items included in the “Snug as a Bug” project include panties, underpants, vests, long-johns, tracksuits, long pants, shirts, tops, t-shirts, jackets, dresses, gloves, beanies and scarves.
• Barefoot for a Day
This Project encourages members of the public to go barefoot for one designated day, and we encourage individuals, schools, companies, clubs and churches to take part. Each person who braves the day with bare feet donates a new pair of children’s shoes to the Little Fighters Cancer Trust. These shoes are then distributed to Children with Cancer in Paediatric Oncology Hospital Wards.
• Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day is a very special occasion for the Little Fighters Cancer Trust, because it is when we get to spoil all the mothers who sit, at times, for months on end, next to their Child’s bedside in a Paediatric Oncology Hospital Ward.
Most of these Mothers live far from the hospital, which means that many do not have a visitor on Mother’s Day, or even a card or a present due to the financial strain cancer puts on a family.
The Little fighters Cancer Trust provides a fully catered meal at a beautifully set table, in the ward, with gifts, cards and flowers. We spend some time with all these special Mothers, showing them the appreciation and respect they so deserve, and also include the ward staff on duty.
• Break the Rules Birthday Bashes
For a Child with Cancer, their next Birthday is not always guaranteed and in most cases, celebrating another Birthday is a huge milestone in itself.
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust breaks the normal Birthday Rules. Just because we can. When we do a Break the Rules Birthday Bash at a Paediatric Oncology Hospital Ward, it is EVERY child’s Birthday on the day.
Every Child will receive a Birthday Gift. There is cake, snacks, juices, balloons, noise makers, hats, masks and, whenever possible, a clown, balloon artist or other children’s entertainment for the Children’s pleasure.
• Christmas Elf Project
Our Christmas Elf Project is a huge Christmas Project, which sees every Child with Cancer in every Paediatric Oncology Hospital Ward on the day of our Christmas Elf delivery, as well as all the Outpatient Clinic Patients, receive a gender and age-appropriate Christmas gift (with an average value of R150- R200), plus a snack pack with Lays crisps, chocolate bar, Maynard’s sweeties, Ceres fruit juice, a Santa hat and Christmas Cracker.
This project also includes providing our Families at home with Christmas presents for the Child with Cancer as well as all siblings, and food and basic needs for the Family to carry them through the Festive Season – we also include some nice little treats as everyone needs treats on Christmas.
2. Individual Childhood Cancer Affected Families
The Little Fighters Cancer trust provides practical and individualised Support on a regular basis to an ever-growing list of beneficiaries.
Childhood Cancer requires around the clock care, which means that most of the time one of the parents, generally the mother, has to leave their employment, resulting in the family income being severely depleted, which, on top of all the additional financial stress, can cause the Family Unit to fall apart.
Many Children with Cancer experience extended stays in the hospital, sometimes for up to two years at a time, which means that the mother must stay at the hospital with them. Then there are the regular hospital visits for treatments or check-ups, which require petrol/transport money to and from hospital. Children with Cancer also often have specific dietary needs or clothing/equipment/medication needs, which all add to the financial stress.
Siblings at home suffer as there is insufficient money for daily living, let alone for school needs. There is often no food in the home, and Families are often evicted or lose their homes due to insufficient funds. Imagine the chaos in a Family where it is a single-parent family.
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust prioritises providing groceries to individual Childhood Cancer Affected Families, but this is not the only support LFCT provides.
Resources permitting, LFCT also provides beds, bedding, clothing, shoes, school bags and stationary; assists with home repairs to make it conducive for the child with cancer to live in the house and transport costs to and from hospital; Arranges Family Outings, Birthday & Anniversary Celebrations; makes Christmas special for the Family and assist with funeral arrangements where necessary should a Little Fighter lose his/ her Fight against cancer.
3. Promoting and Advocating Childhood Cancer Awareness
There is a dire need for more Awareness surrounding Childhood Cancer. As per the South African National Tumour Registry, less than 33% of actual Childhood Cancer cases are diagnosed in South Africa every year. This amounts to approximately 700 new cases of Childhood Cancer, but, more worrying is that this means that up to 1 400 children who had cancer, but were never diagnosed, were denied the opportunity for treatment or a fighting chance.
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust advocates Childhood Cancer Awareness by distributing Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer pamphlets, and A 1 size laminated posters as well as via our September Awareness Campaign and by offering informative presentations wherever requested to.
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a registered NPO with PBO Status and a Level 4 B-BEEE Contributor. This means that persons in their private capacity as well as corporate sponsors, will earn the maximum Section 18A Tax and B- BEEE score benefits.
How long has your Organisation been operational?
In your opinion, what has been the most challenging aspect of running your Organisation?
Getting financial and product donations
Describe your Nonprofit Journey in three words:
Stressful Rewarding Passion
Do you collaborate with other Causes? If yes, would you like to mention them?
Reach for a Dream
If you had one Organisation wish, what would it be?
Sufficient Funding to do more
In your opinion, which skills do Nonprofits in your Country lack?
Some lack organisational and fundraising skills
Looking back at your Cause Journey, what advice would you give a newbie Organisation?
Do not take on too much at a time and work according to a plan
If you could change one thing about the Nonprofit Landscape, what would it be?
The inability to pay decent wages/salaries therefore not being able to employ suitably qualified people and/or generally having to work short-staffed
Which Cause achievement are you most proud of? Feel free to elaborate on why and include any links:
Every child, every family that we can help is a blessing
Last question, if your friends had to describe your Organisation in three words, which would they use?
Sympathetic, kind and good-hearted