Light It Up Gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this September 

2nd September 2022 

  •  September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. 
  • Childhood cancer includes children, adolescents and young adults aged 0 – 24 years in Ireland.  
  • Childhood cancer is increasing by 1-2% annually. 
  • 7 children, adolescents and young adults are diagnosed each week. 

This September, during International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Childhood Cancer Ireland will ‘Light It Up Gold’ to raise awareness of childhood, adolescent and young adult cancer, a disease which has been increasing by 1-2% annually over the last 25 years in Ireland. [1] 

Childhood Cancer Ireland is a charity founded by and led by parents of children with cancer and survivors of childhood cancer.  

In September, the Light It Up Gold campaign helps shine a light on the challenges that children and families living with childhood, adolescent and young adult cancer face during treatment and into survivorship. It also helps GPs, caregivers and others to recognise the signs and symptoms to improve early detection rates, leading to better outcomes. 

As more children, adolescents and young adults are being diagnosed with childhood cancer every year, demands for supports for children, young people and their families are increasing. In the two years from 2017 – 2019, 25 more children, adolescents and young adults aged 0-24 received a devastating childhood cancer diagnosis compared to the previous two years.  

Thankfully, the 5-year survival rate is also on the rise but, while survivors may live with the long-term and late effects of their treatment well into adulthood, they lack consistent access to supports and services. Childhood Cancer Ireland is calling for a national long-term follow up service.  

Mary-Claire Rennick, Voluntary Director of Childhood Cancer Ireland and parent of a childhood cancer survivor: 

No family thinks that childhood cancer will affect them – I know that we didn’t – and yet an average of 7 children, adolescents and young adults are diagnosed each week. At Childhood Cancer Ireland, we are seeing an increase in calls from parents who are looking for support from other parents who have been there – experts by experience – as they deal with the powerlessness that comes with that diagnosis.  

Survivors are also looking for recognition of the long-term impact that childhood cancer can have on various aspects of their lives and lack consistent and appropriate follow-up care. We work hard to give voice to the experiences of all affected by childhood, adolescent and young adult cancer, ensuring that their views and experiences are embedded in policy and practice. We also honour and remember all of children and young people whose lives have been tragically lost to cancer.” 

One of the most important aspects of the Light It Up Gold campaign is to make visible the reality of living with and beyond childhood cancer. The campaign offers solidarity to families, creates greater awareness and understanding of what it means to live with childhood cancer and to be a survivor, as well as spreading vital knowledge on the signs and symptoms to look out for in our children, adolescents and young adults.  

Childhood Cancer Ireland and CanTeen Ireland will co-host the second annual CAYAS (Childhood, Adolescent, Young Adult and Survivors) Conference in Dublin on 24th September, bringing together all those involved in this area, including those with a lived experience, medical experts, researchers and policy makers, with a view to moving forward together.   

Childhood Cancer Ireland will also launch the second season of its Gold Ribbon Conversations Podcast on Monday 5th November, using conversations with parents, medical experts, bereaved families and others to show the true impact of childhood cancer.