Last week, we were proud to announce a brand new partnership with Dayton Children’s Hospital! It is our hope that this will lead to further opportunities across the country that will make a difference in the lives of cancer’s youngest and bravest soldiers.
Why do we feel so strongly about helping pediatric cancer survivors? Because the treatment of childhood cancer is associated with a host of late effects, including impaired growth and development, cognitive dysfunction, diminished neurological function, cardiopulmonary compromise, musculoskeletal weakness, and secondary malignancy. These effects can be severe or even life-threatening up to 30 years after diagnosis!
Therefore, attention today must focus not only on survival, but also on the quality of survival.
Because of the acute and long-term injury to the heart, lungs, and skeletal muscles, impaired physical fitness has been reported during and after childhood cancer treatment. This typically includes reduced cardiopulmonary function, decreased muscle strength, fatigue, and altered physical function.
This has prompted the Children’s Oncology Group to establish Guidelines for Diet and Physical Activity, and recommend adolescent cancer survivors engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity for 60 minutes, most days of the week.
However, to date, there are less than 30 clinical trials that have examined the effect of exercise in a pediatric cancer population. Compare that to more than 15,000 in the adult cancer population!
We know this research demonstrates that exercise has the potential to improve cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal function, and possibly even preventing long-term deficits in physical fitness, if incorporated during or soon after treatment in children with cancer diagnoses.
THIS is our WHY.
We want to help our youngest fighters to live a better life. We firmly believe that incorporating physical activity and healthy eating into a treatment regimen is the way to accomplish this very goal.
It starts in Dayton. But my prayer is that it won’t end there! Together, we will change the face of cancer recovery for children across the country. Together, we will fight cancer back!