Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has said that the Government must do more to address childhood cancer, in terms of prevention, treatment and support for patients and their families.
The DUP representative made the call at the conclusion of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, after meeting with Sara and David Watson, whose son Adam passed away after a battle with cancer, and Mark and Sharon Ogle who lost their daughter Poppy to cancer.
Carla Lockhart said:
“September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and it is a timely reminder of the prevalence of childhood cancer. It is also an opportunity to consider the prioritisation by Government in terms of research, prevention and treatment strategies with regard to childhood cancer.
Sadly we have local families for whom childhood cancer has robbed them of their young children. Both Sara and David Watson, and Mark and Sharon Ogle, have suffered the heartbreak of losing precious children – Adam and Poppy. It was a solemn privilege to join with these parents today as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to discuss their profound loss. It was also an opportunity to listen to their experiences, and how they believe more can be done to those facing this cancer journey.
I have been calling on the Government to include a Childhood Cancer Mission as part of the Government’s Ten Year Cancer Strategy. Alongside MPs from across the political spectrum at Westminster, we are pushing the Government to include such a statement in their ten year cancer strategy. We need greater investment into research, but we also need practical support for families who face this incredibly difficult journey. For many it is impossible to work when a child receives a cancer diagnosis, yet little support if afforded to parents which can cause significant financial stress at a time of extreme emotional distress.
We need a greater emphasis on ensuring less children lose their lives to cancer, whilst also ensuring the necessary support is given to parents and siblings for whom the diagnosis of a loved one brings so many challenges. I trust the new Health Secretary will set the direction on this and I will be pressing her to ensure she does.”