The LFCT BAG OF HOPE Project was initiated in 2010, when it became very clear, after numerous visits to paediatric Oncology Wards, that there is a desperate need for support to the Child with Cancer AND the bedside care-giver, which is usually, the child’s Mother.
Once a Child is diagnosed with Cancer, one parent has to leave his/ her employment, as it is a 24 hour a day labour of love to take care of a Child with cancer. More often than not, it is the Mother who leaves her employment, and, depending on the diagnosis and treatment plan, these Mothers are often in the hospital ward for months or years on end. As the Family Unit has lost up to, in certain cases, 70% of their income, there is a desperate lack of support from home.
This results in Children with Cancer in Hospital Wards not having pyjamas that fit, no comfort items like a soft toy and a warm blanket, no educational toys, no treats and no activities to enjoy when feeling well enough.
Mothers, for the most of the time, do not have accommodation, and literally live in the Ward, eating, sleeping upright in a chair and bathing in the ward wash basins. They have no sanitary products, a desperate lack of food and toiletries, and have no funds available to them to purchase even the basic necessities.
These Children with Cancer and their Mothers are forgotten by the World, and the main aims for the LFCT Bag of Hope Project, is to restore Dignity and inspire Hope.
The following items are typically in a Child’s Bag of Hope, although Bag of Hope might vary, from hospital to hospital, depending on the willingness of the Hospital Staff to provide age and size appropriate information to our organisation.
- Soft new blanket
- New set of Pyjamas
- Soft toy
- Colouring book and crayons
- Reading book, puzzle or educational game
- 0Ph Soap and facecloth
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Aqueous cream
- Boxed fruit juices
The following items are typically in a Mother’s Bag of Hope, although sanitary products will be replaced with Shaving Products in the case of a Father being at the bedside.
- Dry cereals
- Longlife Milk
- Boxes of Cup-a-Soup
- Two Minute Noodles
- Sandwich Spreads
- Soap and facecloth
- Shampoo and Conditioner
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Sanitary products
Little Fighters Cancer Trust liaises very closely with the Hospital Social Workers to determine specific needs of Children in the Paediatric Oncology Ward, and if there is a specific need we can address by altering the content of the Bag of Hope, we do so with pleasure, as we firmly believe in giving support which is most needed, practical and individualised.
In some cases, we have been requested specifically to provide items such as disposable diapers and underwear, justifying an adjustment to the average Bag of Hope.
The Little Fighters Cancer Trust will be responsible for all aspects pertaining to the implementation of the Bag of Hope Project.
We hugely encourage Staff Involvement with the shopping, packing and distribution of Bags of Hope, as we have a small staff of only four members and no offices in Provinces apart from the Western Cape.
The usual steps of implementation are as follows:
- Initial contact made with hospital social worker by LFCT Project Manager
- Date and Time agreed and signed commitment is made
- Maximum capacity of the Ward is established, and all arrangements are made as such
- Hospital PR Forms are signed by LFCT to enable us to take photographs with permission of the hospital and the parents, enabling us to give visual feedback to Donors and Sponsors
- If applicable, outside of Cape Town, travel and accommodation arrangements are made.
The day before the agreed upon date, LFCT contacts the ward social worker again, to confirm ages and sexes of the Children with Cancer expected to be in the ward on the day of delivery
On the morning of delivery, LFCT will contact the ward social worker again to assess whether or not there have been any overnight admissions.
In case of new and emergency admissions, LFCT will do shopping for the specific Child/ Children en route to the hospital.
Delivery done directly to each Child with Cancer and Bedside Care-giver.
The number of Children with Cancer who’s Mothers is at their bedside in the wards, is an average of 70% of the maximum capacity of the Ward.
The reach of the Bag of Hope Project is far wider than just the direct recipients as this support offers relief to the Family unit at home due to lessened financial strain as well as the hospital ward directly.