Did you know that children with Down syndrome are twenty times more likely to develop leukemia? According to a recent Down Syndrome World publication (via Global Down Syndrome Foundation), children with Down syndrome have an increased likelihood of developing acute lymphoblastic leukemia than that of their typically developing peers. A sobering statistic for parents whose children already face a variety of challenges simply by having an extra chromosome.
Children with Down syndrome are typically monitored with specific blood work on a scheduled basis. This can include tests like thyroid checks and complete blood counts (CBCs). The reason for this is to stay proactive about potential threats to their health. Since blood disorders such as leukemia are common for individuals with Down syndrome, parents should speak to their child’s pediatrician about their child’s specific medical needs regarding blood work.
We recognize that all parents whose children have cancer are facing a multitude of issues. Parents are hopeful that their children will live a healthy life beyond treatment. While that is commonly shared, the complexities that accompany a cancer diagnosis on top of an existing Down syndrome diagnosis vary. Individuals with Down syndrome may also experience additional medical needs or developmental delays that differ from others; making a cancer diagnosis hard to comprehend and manage.
Whether the child is non-verbal, facing heart problems, has feeding, sensory, respiratory or sleep related issues, the addition of a cancer diagnosis can feel isolating at times. Specific support, tailored to the aforementioned unique situations, matters; and is the reason why the Down Syndrome & Cancer Coalition came to be.
Because we know that a cancer diagnosis can often happen in the Down syndrome community, it is important for a network of support to exist that gives parents and caregivers a place to go when they are faced with the unthinkable. But we can’t do this alone.
This month, we are hosting our first Strive For Five campaign. We are looking for a thousand people to donate just $5 each. Every newly diagnosed parent or caregiver that comes to our organization receives a care package as well as online support and camaraderie from those going through similar circumstances.
The Down Syndrome & Cancer Coalition serves a vital role in supporting the many caregivers this diagnosis impacts. In honor of childhood cancer awareness month, we are hoping you will help support our Strive For Five campaign. The goal of our campaign is to expand our supportive efforts so that we can better serve those who needs us. Just a small $5 donation can get us to our 5k goal and help us help families!
Donate by clicking here!
Not able to donate? You can also help by sharing our campaign and the stories we will be featuring all month long on your social media pages. Be sure to use the hashtag #strivefor5.
Megan and Becky
Megan Dodd and Becky Carey founded the Down Syndrome and Cancer Coalition (DSCC) in 2017. These two moms were brought together by their personal experiences with Down syndrome and leukemia. Together, they recognized a need to provide more in-depth support for families facing a cancer diagnosis. From there, the Down Syndrome and Cancer Coalition was born.