On average over 350 children, adolescents, and young adults (aged 0 – 24 years) are diagnosed with cancer in Ireland every year. While it is estimated that there are over 6,000 adult survivors of childhood cancer living in Ireland today, childhood cancer is the largest disease killer of children in this country. For the second year, Childhood Cancer Ireland and CanTeen Ireland are coming together to host the Childhood, Adolescent, Young Adult Cancers & Survivorship Conference (CAYAS) to provide a platform for patients, survivors, and their families to connect with health care professionals and researchers to ensure that the voice of the lived experience is central to policy and practice.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and CAYAS marks the end of this month by keeping the lived experience at the heart of the conversation. Taking place on Saturday, 24th September in the Clayton Hotel, Dublin, CAYAS brings together those impacted by or involved in the Childhood, Adolescent and Young Adult cancer and Survivorship communities. By connecting and hosting patients, survivors, parents, families, carers, advocates, health care professionals, researchers, and policy makers, CAYAS 2022 will update, educate, and inform attendees of the facts about childhood cancer in Ireland. It is an opportunity to highlight the progress made, find a way to solve the unmet needs of patients and survivors, and to discuss a national survivorship programme for Ireland.
CAYAS will be hosted in person and guests can also log in virtually to participate live online and access the full programme on the day. The day’s programme will commence with a ‘state of the nation’ overview by Professor Owen Smith, National Clinical Programme Lead for Children and Adolescent/Young Adults (AYA) with cancer at the National Cancer Control Programme, followed by addresses by Amy Nolan, Head of Children, Adolescents & Young Adults with the Irish Cancer Society, and Dr Sarah Curry, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist and Ms. Frieda Clinton Advanced Nurse Practitioner, National Children’s Cancer Service at Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin, who will co-chair a research and development session.
The afternoon’s programme will commence with a moment of remembrance, which will be followed by a talk by Carina Schneider CEO of Childhood Cancer International Europe. Carina will highlight the work of CCI Europe and their members, including Childhood Cancer Ireland and CanTeen Ireland. This will be followed by a focus on education, and a panel discussion on the psycho-social impacts of childhood, adolescent and young adult cancer and survivorship by those with direct experience and those providing care. The conference will culminate with speaker, Toby Peach, and his journey, The Eulogy, first performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Winner of the 2015 IdeasTap Underbelly Award. The Eulogy is Toby’s story of his journey with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes that he faced at the age of 19 and again at 21.
CAYAS is the final event in a month-long series of events to mark September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The gold ribbon is the international symbol of childhood cancer, and Childhood Cancer Ireland began the Light it up Gold campaign in Dublin in 2013. Since then, they have hosted numerous events, walks, candle-lit vigils, and illuminations. This month they have also launched the second season of a podcast series Gold Ribbon Conversations, hosted by Sinead O’ Moore to shine a light on the experiences of families during diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and bereavement, as well as hearing from medical and emotional experts in the field.
For further information on CAYAS, please visit www.cayasireland.ie/
For more details on CanTeen Ireland, please visit www.canteen.ie/
And, for more information on Childhood Cancer Ireland, log onto www.childhoodcancer.ie