Reflecting on the last month feels surreal.
It was around this time last year when we decided to suspend all face-to-face activities. No more camps, no more family activity days, no more tickets to the footy – it all came to a standstill and we did not know when, or if, we would ever get the chance to do it all again. We worked remotely, connecting with our families from afar through online music and art therapy, Zoom readings with our beloved Andy Lee, and virtual activities to pass by the long hours at home. It was all amazing given the circumstances, but it still was not the same.
One whole year later and we are back doing what we do best – running programs and activities which give kids living with cancer the chance to be kids again. Whether it was water-skiing on the winding waters of the Murray River or playing pirates at our annual Williamstown Boat Day, it has never felt better to be back out in the community, meeting new families, watching everyone enjoy themselves.
We never take moments like these for granted, but they have felt particularly special in recent times. You do not realise what you have until it is gone and there is no amount of technology that could ever replace the experience of face-to-face human interaction.
We hope our families know how much we care about them and how much they mean to us. The Challenge community would just not exist without every single one of you.
And to our amazing volunteers and supporters, how extraordinary it has been to see you all again. You are the lifeblood of this organisation and we have missed you all so much – new and old faces alike!
As we look to other parts of the world – some still in lockdown, some emerging – we feel grateful today. But while one battle has been fought, there is still another one to fight. Childhood cancer still affects too many lives, and the truth of the matter is that life in lockdown is not so dissimilar to the ones lived by the families we support. Isolation, uncertainty, restlessness – these are all hallmarks of the journey with cancer, and this is why we provide the support we do.
We know our families are in the capable hands of medical experts, but we step in to fill the emotional gaps. Maybe it is a helping hand at home, or a date to the movies, or perhaps just a walk around the park – we are always there whenever our families need us, all they need to do is ask. 💛