Marie-Mai joins Leucan to support cancer-stricken children by becoming Godmother of the Association

Leucan, the Association for children with cancer and their families, is proud to announce that singer-songwriter Marie-Mai is officially being named Godmother of Leucan. With this new title, Marie-Mai is renewing the commitment she made to the cause of cancer-stricken children in 2017, and solidified as part of the Association’s 40th anniversary.

“While on tour, I came across several cancer-stricken children and their families, and I have seen Leucan at work in the field. The birth of my daughter gave me the urgency to do something. I wanted to make a difference, not only through my music and lyrics, but also through concrete action,” explained Marie-Mai.

“It’s a huge privilege for Leucan to count on Marie-Mai as Godmother of the Association. Her generosity, authenticity, and proximity to the Quebec public make her an exceptional ambassador to raise awareness about the challenges faced by families of cancer-stricken children,” said Pascale Bouchard, Executive Director of Leucan.

Over the next three years, Marie-Mai will meet with the children and families of Leucan across the province by taking part in a series of activities organized for them.

Leucan

Founded in 1978 by Dr. Jocelyn Demers, a pediatric oncologist, and a group of parents of cancer-strickent children, Leucan was born out of a desire to improve the recovery rate and well-being of children with cancer. In 40 years of operation, Leucan has supported more than 10,000 families through this difficult ordeal.

Mission 

Leucan promotes the recovery and the well-being of cancer-stricken children and supports their families by providing distinctive and tailored services and assistance through every stage of cancer and its side-effects.

Leucan becomes an anchor for these families who must navigate through this difficult time. The Association favors personalized support for its members, divided into 5 main axes: 

1. Fight cancer and improve treatments

Allows to:

  • Improve the odds of survival so that all children affected by cancer can hope to reach adulthood
  • Contribute to providing world-class treatments to children in Quebec
  • Lessen the side effects of treatment
  • Enhance the quality of life of survivors by reducing the risk of sequelae

Clinical research in pediatric oncology gives children access to the best treatments in the world. New therapies also limit side effects and the risk of sequelae, which sometimes have significant physical and psychological ramifications on the lives of survivors.

Primary funder of clinical research in pediatric oncology in Quebec, Leucan invests close to 1 million dollars every year for that type of research. Today, 82% of children diagnosed with cancer can hope to grow up and survive the ilness.

2. Provide financial assistance

Allows to:

  • Reduce the financial anxiety associated with pediatric cancer for parents
  • Contribute to offsetting the loss of income when a parent must take an unpaid leave
  • Improve the quality of life of survivors coping with sequelae

At the beginning of the 1980s, Leucan noted that families incurred expenses as a consequence of their child’s cancer diagnosis. Those unforeseen expenses (travel and accommodation expenses, parking fees, and meals) can generate a lot of additional stress for parents, especially when one parent must take a leave from work for an undetermined period to stay with the affected child.

In 2007, the Association implemented a new Financial Assistance Policy to provide fair and balanced financial support to families with a cancer-stricken child. Since then, Leucan created various grants and funds to offset unforeseen expenses partially, so that families can focus all their energy on the recovery of their child.

Once children go in remission, Leucan remains supportive by granting funds to survivors learning to live with physical or psychological sequelae of cancer or treatments.

3. Comfort, inform and guide

Allows to:

  • Reduce parents’ emotional distress at the time of diagnosis
  • Reassure families through individualized support and appropriate information
  • Support diagnosed children, their parents, and their siblings through every stage of cancer and even after they go home

Assistance provided :

  • Welcome and emotional support at the hospital and at home
  • The Leucan Information Centre
  • Welcome and comfort kit

Every family is welcomed and met by a Leucan representative at the hospital in the days following a diagnosis. For families, this is a critical first contact, and Leucan becomes a beacon of hope in this tumultuous storm. To give families a sense of security and direction in this ordeal, Leucan provides a welcome kit containing a comfort blanket, an educational game, two shirts for treatments, information about Leucan’s services, and useful medical equipment for appointments and public outings.

In addition, families have access to the Leucan Information Centre, a program created in 2008 as a reliable resource for parents and patients treated in pediatric oncology. The Centre also provides educational material, which helps parents to find the right words to reassure siblings who often feel isolated after the diagnosis.

When a child leaves the hospital and returns home, the family is assigned a Family Services Agent whose role is to provide individualized support to the family and child through every stage of cancer.

4. Alleviate physical and psychological pain

Allows to:

  • Alleviate the parents’ feeling of helplessness in the face of their child’s pain
  • Help relieve the psychological distress experienced by the parents and siblings of affected children
  • Allow children access to pain relieving care
  • Provide comfort care to bereaved families

Assistance provided :

  • Massage therapy in hospitals and at home for children with cancer, their parents, and their siblings
  • Psychological support
  • End-of-life and bereavement support

Over the past 40 years, Leucan developed an expertise in providing individualized support to its members and facilitate their adaptation to the realities of cancer. For the team of Leucan, supporting families is also an opportunity to engage in dialogue with them and gain a better understanding of their needs. For parents, active listening allows them to feel heard and supported.

As a complement to the Welcome and Emotional Support Services, in 1988, Leucan created the Massage Therapy Services. Leucan’s skilled massage therapists are available in the four pediatric oncology centres in Quebec. Families can also benefit from these services at home when their child is undergoing treatment from an outpatient clinic.

The Association is there for families at every stage of cancer, which was the inspiration behind the creation of the End-of-life and Bereavement Follow-up Services in 1995. The team provides individual follow-up to bereaved families through their grieving process. Families are also invited to activities fostering solidarity and significant bonds with other families who endured a similar loss.

5. Break families out of their isolation and contribute to their well-being

Allows to:  

  • Reduce the sense of isolation in families
  • Contribute to the well-being of children during treatments
  • Help childhood cancer survivors enjoy a positive and more independent life
  • Support awareness-raising efforts to increase understanding and empathy in the circle of the affected children about their reality and that of their families

Assistance provided :  

  • Socio-recreational activities: the Leucan-CSN Summer Camp, the Heart-filled Hope support group, Christmas parties, family activities, etc.
  • Hosting in hospital playrooms
  • Awareness-raising activities and support in schools
  • Assistance to cured patients and survivors

When families return home, they tend to isolate themselves and to assert more control over their outings to limit the risk of contracting viruses while their child’s immune system is weakened.

To help families break out of their isolation, Leucan organizes several supervised activities tailored to their needs and mindful of the realities of member families. Leucan also gives parents the opportunity to form bonds with other parents by hosting lunches in the pediatric oncology centres several times a year.

Additionally, children must visit outpatient clinics regularly to receive treatment. Concerned with providing them with a reassuring and comforting environment, Leucan furbished playrooms for the little ones and lounges for teenagers; places where children can have fun and where parents can exchange and develop ties.

To facilitate cancer-stricken children’s return to school after a long hospitalization, Leucan created the School Awareness Program in 2001. The purpose of the program is to equip, build awareness, and educate parents, the school staff, and classmates on the realities of children with cancer. The various interventions made by the team of Leucan help children to continue their education despite cancer and treatments.

How to get involved with Leucan?

Make a donation through Leucan’s Web site leucan.qc.ca

Participate in one of our fundraising activities:

  • The Leucan Ski Challenge, details at defiski.com
  • The Leucan Shaved Head Challenge, presented by PROXIM, details at tetesrasees.com
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