TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 02/14/13 -- Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.
SickKids Foundation today launched a new project aimed at improving diagnoses and outcomes for children affected by paediatric cancers and serious blood disorders in the Caribbean. The Caribbean-SickKids Paediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Project will help build health care capacity in six countries - Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and The Bahamas - by training health professionals, providing consultation and diagnostic expertise, and developing and expanding access to treatment and supportive care.
At a celebratory event held this evening, SickKids Foundation also announced a generous donation of $1 million from the Leslois Shaw Foundation to become the lead donor for Barbados. Other confirmed donors to date include Myron and Berna Garron, Wayne Purboo and QuickPlay Media, and Sandals Foundation. Events held in support of this Project include Mining4Life Charity Challenge, Barbados Ball Canada Aid, Kardinal Offishall's Christmas Event, and Rock the Runway, bringing the total raised to $2 million and helping to ensure SickKids Foundation is on target to raise the $8 million needed over the next five years.
"If a child is born in Canada and develops cancer, it is believed the child has between an 80 to 90 per cent chance of surviving the disease. If that same child is born in the Caribbean and develops cancer there, the child has a much lower chance of surviving the disease," says Dr. Upton Allen, Division Head of Infectious Disease at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)."The inequality between outcomes for children with cancer and serious blood disorders in the Caribbean compared to those in Canada is heartbreaking. Together, we can help change that."
In the Caribbean, there is a lack of medical professionals with specialized training in paediatric cancer care, limited technological resources which often prohibits proper diagnoses, few nurses and pharmacists able to provide specialized front-line health care and limited data on the effectiveness of treatments and epidemiology of paediatric cancer. Working with local hospital partners in the Caribbean, the Project includes a five-year plan for addressing the region's gaps in research, care and education in order to advance the diagnosis and management of paediatric cancer and blood disorders.
"The Caribbean faces limitations on its health resources, and these limitations affect the quality and length of life for children in this region," says Ted Garrard, President and CEO, SickKids Foundation. "These generous gifts will help build capacity for these Caribbean countries to more effectively diagnose and treat children with cancer and blood disorders. We are excited to launch this Project to help improve health outcomes for children in the Caribbean."
The Caribbean-SickKids Paediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Project is led by Dr. Victor Blanchette, former Chief of Haematology/Oncology and a native of Barbados, and Dr. Upton Allen, Division Head of Infectious Disease, who is a native of Jamaica. Both are physicians at SickKids.
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