Bruce-Grey MPP Creates Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Brendan Rourke Photo by Kirk Scott

Bruce-Grey Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker says he is humbled by the unanimous support at Queen’s Park for his motion to declare September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Walker says up to 400 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer in Ontario every year. He adds that while four in five will survive, a majority will suffer long term effects such as infertility, heart disease and hearing loss.

“It was truly humbling to hear today the emotional impact that cancer has had on all of us. There is truly no greater pain than to see your own child in pain,” says Walker. “The intent of my motion was to empower children and youth living with cancer by letting them know that they are not alone, and that we will do better for them by standing united to conquer childhood cancer.”

Walker says the motion is in memory of childhood cancer victims Conah Higgins and Brendan Rourke, and recognizes the tireless work of Brendan’s father Neal in raising funds and awareness.

The motion also called on the province to recognize the gold ribbon as the awareness symbol of childhood cancer.

“When you consider that somewhere this very moment there is a family packing up and driving to the Hospital for Sick Children, the Children’s Hospital in London, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Kingston General or to McMaster Children’s Hospital, that their world has been turned upside down and their child is hurting, you can’t begin to imagine the raw emotions, the self-doubts and uncertainties facing these parents,” says Walker. “In the words of my hero, Terry Fox, somewhere the hurting must stop.”

Walker’s resolution was supported by ChildCan, a London-based non-profit that supports childhood cancer research. A number of stakeholders attended today’s debate, including Desboro native and advocate Neal Rourke, Antonia Palmer, founder of Neuroblastoma Canada and Co-Founder Ac2orn, Susan Juczynski from Children with Cancer, Renee Simmons and Kathleen Barnard from Childcan,Natasha Bowes from Childhood Cancer Canada, Clare Davenport, CEO of Childhood Cancer Canada, Patricia Zareba with Childhood Cancer Canada, Ron Mitchell, Co-Founder Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation, Jacqui DeBique from Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO) and Marjorie Morrison, CEO Canadian Cancer Action Network.