On International Childhood Cancer Day (ICDC), February 15, the European Parliament is set to approve a landmark report to tackle risk factors, improve cancer care and increase research cooperation and funding.
ICCD is a global collaborative campaign to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to express support for children and adolescents with cancer, as well as the survivors and their families.
The report drafted by French MEP Véronique Trillet-Lenoir proposes concrete actions and tools in the fields of health and research, including ambitious legislative proposals to reduce tobacco and alcohol consumption, promote healthy eating and regular physical activity, and encourage vaccination against certain cancers.
The European Society for Pediatric Oncology (SIOPE) states that there are more than 35,000 children and young people diagnosed with cancer each year and 6,000 young lives lost -– sobering figures that show the disease continues to be a major public health and societal issue in Europe.
Greek MEP Alexis Georgoulis underlined the importance of the report, saying that it includes recommendations for action for all stages of the disease. As he pointed out, the report calls for equal access to health care for all sufferers.
“There is still a long way ahead in the fight against cancer, but as representatives of the people of Europe we must be united in our aim not to leave anybody behind,” Georgoulis declared.
Cyprus MEP has made the fight against cancer a “lifetime promise”
Cyprus’ MEP Loucas Fourlas, the Chair of the MEPs Against Cancer Interest Group, is fighting passionately for policies against cancer.
Inspired by his own personal tragedy, since he lost his young daughter more than eight years ago, he is determined to make a difference as part of the European Parliament.
Speaking to the European Parliament Magazine he stated: “There is no choice for me; I would rather transform my pain into power,” adding, “My commitment and highest priority is the fight against cancer, particularly childhood cancer. The battle is a highly sensitive and personal issue for me, and is a lifetime promise that I will never break.”
Fourlas’ work began well before entering the European Parliament, however. In 2017, he set up his own charity, called “Little Heroes,” which organizes fundraising events to support children who suffer from cancer and are hospitalized at Makarios Children’s Hospital in Nicosia.
One such event he organizes is a charity swim along the Cypriot coast, to raise awareness and support children and families affected by childhood cancer.
His own deeply personal experience of tragedy and how it unfolded is what drives him today. He campaigns because,as he says, he feels that “no child should fight cancer alone, and no family should struggle alone.”
He adds, “Little Heroes was embraced by many people and I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
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