Taken in hospitals and patients’ homes, these portraits of some of the children in the My Child Matters program in Senegal, Paraguay, Colombia, Thailand, and Morocco show the realities of life behind the word “cancer.” The program aims to give children with cancer, wherever they live in the world, the same access to care. The lives of these children and their families have been changed forever, but thanks to My Child Matters, they have been given their best chance of combatting this disease.
PAPA ASSANE, 7, AND HIS MOTHER FATUMATA SEYDI DIOUF
“I took him for a general check-up when he was six months old. After some tests, they said that he had a tumor and referred us to Hôpital Le Dantec in Senegal, where they confirmed he had cancer. He had an operation and six months of chemotherapy; he missed a year of school. It was so hard on him – but he never, ever cried.”
JOSEMA SALINAS, 8, AND HER MOTHER, ZENNY MARTINEZ, 37
Diagnosed with a rare cancer of certain immune cells when she was just one month old, Josema was successfully treated at Hospital de Clínicas, Asunción, Paraguay.
JEERAPAT PAKDEECHOT, 9, WITH HIS GRANDFATHER, NARONG PAKDEECHOT, 73
Photographed in their home in Thailand, Jeerapat is now cancer free after successful treatment for leukemia at the
Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Thailand.
SALMA BENARBIA, 11, WITH HER MOTHER, FATNA
In 2009, Salma Benarbia was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of childhood cancer that affects nerve cells. Her first round of treatment was successful, but in 2017, she relapsed and had to undergo another operation at Hôpital d’Enfants, Rabat, Morocco. It is hoped that Salma is now cancer free.
LILIANA BLANA VERA, 5, AND HER FATHER, SIEMBRA
When she was four, I took her to the hospital in Cali Colombia and there they diagnosed leukemia. Liliana, Siembra and her mother, Martitza, are now staying at the Fundación Carlos Portela, a center for families with children suffering from cancer, where they will remain throughout Liliana’s treatment. “She is happier here,” says Siembra, “because now she is getting better.”
ANER ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ GUEJIA, 3, WITH HIS MOTHER, ALBA MARIA
During the two years of his treatment, Aner has been staying at the Fundación La Divina Providencia, Cali, Colombia.
METHEE SUWANNAWORN, 11, WITH HIS GRANDMOTHER, SAMATHI AGE, 49
Methee Suwannaworn was eight when the lymph nodes in his neck began to swell, eventually restricting his breathing. He was diagnosed with a lymphoma, and was taken to the hospital at Prince of Songkla University. Today, Methee is aged 11 and cancer free; he has decided he wants to be a policeman.
DIEYNABA BA, 1, WITH HER MOTHER, MAYRAME SOW, 20
Dieynaba Ba, aged one, lives with her parents and three siblings in a small village near Keur Momar Sarr, 250 kilometers northeast of Dakar. After being diagnosed with cancer, she began her treatment at Hôpital Aristide Le Dantec in the Senegalese capital, accompanied by her parents. Her father, Mamadou Ba, 27, has since had to leave and return to Saint-Louis where he works as a street seller.
From 11 to 29 June, the Sanofi Espoir Foundation and the A. galerie are exhibiting photographs by James Mollison dedicated to My Child Matters, the flagship program of the Sanofi Espoir Foundation, which is committed to the fight against pediatric cancers (A. galerie, 4 rue Léonce Reynaud, 75116 Paris).
My Child Matters: fighting against pediatric cancers in countries with limited resources
In 2005, the Sanofi Espoir Foundation created the My Child Matters program with the objective of giving all children with cancer, wherever they live in the world, the same opportunity to access quality care according to international standards.
My Child Matters, facts and figures:
- 58 projects have received support in 42 countries
- Providing 85,000 children with access to care
- 25,000 health professionals have been trained
- An increase of more than 5% in median survival at 5 years noted in the top ten countries where the program was implemented; up to more than 17% in Ukraine*
- No drop-out for projects supported by My Child Matters, in countries such as Paraguay.
However, the needs are still immense: the survival rate of children and adolescents with cancer in these countries does not exceed 20% while it is around 80% in rich countries. Most of these children die without a diagnosis because they live in areas where pediatric oncology remains unknown.
* Source : The Lancet Oncology, Vol. 19, May 2018