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Mama Angel bought groceries, milk and nappies for Choc Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Mama Angel bought groceries, milk and nappies for Choc Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Choc is a voluntary organisation for parents of children with cancer. It provides practical help from diagnosis onwards.

Choc has two houses in Gauteng where parents with children undergoing treatment can stay for a period of a week up to six months.

The organisation cares for up to 650 children and their families in a year. There are other homes in Bloemfontein, Soweto, Cape Town and Durban.

Choc organises a support system for families to cope with the trauma and stress of the diagnosis.

It provides information about the diseases and helps the families cope with the dislocation. Choc has a poster listing all the warning signs of child cancer, which is available in English and Zulu.

It provides accommodation close to the hospital for families.

"We look after the main caregiver and the sick child," Francois Peenz, the national director of Choc, said.

"Our main concern is the child.

"The treatment can last up to 14 months or longer. We supply a home for accommodation, transport, food and support for parents. We work closely with the doctors to make it easy for everyone."

Childhood Cancer Facts:

Here are some facts about childhood cancer gleaned from the Choc website:

The incidence of childhood cancer is about one in every 600 children. There are about 700 children diagnosed with cancer each year in South Africa.

It is estimated that in South Africa only half of the children are diagnosed and reach a treatment centre in time.

The good news is that if diagnosed early and treated correctly, the majority of children (about 70 percent) can be cured.

The cancers that occur in childhood are generally different from those of adults and most often occur in developing cells, like bone marrow, blood, kidneys and tissues of the nervous system.

The most common childhood cancer is leukaemia, followed by tumours of the brain, and by a wide variety of other tumours.

Generally, childhood cancer is treated with chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation, and in some cases a combination of these treatments is used. In certain situations, bone marrow or stem cell transplantation is done.

Life threatening blood disorders include aplastic anaemia, thalassaemia and ITP.


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