LIGHTHOUSES OF LIFE

“Faros de Vida” (Lighthouses of Life) is the first childhood cancer survivor group in Latin America. This project is led by CCI Latam, with the support of some local cancer organizations.

June 30th, 2020 was a special day for the new “Lighthouses of Life” organization. The group was launched with a productive online meeting, with the participation of over a hundred childhood cancer survivors from thirteen countries in Latin America. The organization’s objectives were presented by two of the seven founders of the group. One of their objectives is to answer questions and inquiries from survivors. According to Vanessa Coronado (Mexico), lack of information about their treatments and secondary effects, as well as a poor support system are some of the main problems that survivors deal with.  “We believe that if we got the opportunity to continue living, it must be to inspire others […] At the end, we know that people can feel more comfortable and secure with the ones that have already lived this disease”.

This initiative was consolidated in March, 2020 at the XII CCI Latam Congress held in Valle Sagrado, Peru.

European Experience

Ester Vizcaino, from the “Caminantes” Valencian (Spain) survivors network also participated in the virtual event. She referred to the importance of promoting a change in the negative connotation of the word Cancer. “There are people who flourish after cancer, that live their life at their best, it is necessary to remove the stigma”. Vizcaino’s testimony emphasized the the relevance of creating a wide network of contacts, “to gather ideas and to improve all the experiences.”

 

Next challenges

During the conversation, the next challenges of “Faros de Vida” were set up including four thematic axes.  First, the creation of a cancer survivor registry in the region. Second, the creations of surveys to the young cancer survivors to learn about their needs and experiences.

Third, the connection through existing networks both to collect testimony and to inform the public.

Faros de Vida members expect to develop strategies to solve the concerns of childhood cancer survivors.

Finally, Marcela Zubieta MD, president of Fundacion Nuestros Hijos and CCI Latam Head, closed the event. She referred to the importance of implementing the “Faros de Vida” objectives. She highlighted that the network counts with a wide  net of professionals to help them fulfill their mission.