This episode's guest is the incredible Helena Kirk. She is a 16 year-old force of nature.
When you are finished listening to her story and hearing about her work, you're going to stand in awe of her the same way that I do.
This is a young woman who, at just three years old, endured 841 days of chemotherapy, and 650 medical procedures to beat leukaemia. It was during her cancer journey that she learned about the inequitable access to childhood cancer treatment that kids here in Canada have, and how because of this, a tragic number of kids are losing their battles to cancer.
When she went into remission, and her health was in good order she decided in 2018 that her work was not done and she founded Helena's Hope - an advocacy group with a mission to create a National Childhood Cancer Strategy, systemic changes and research funding. She managed to rally over 150 families dealing with childhood cancer across the country, and received signatures from over 30 cancer organizations and 30 pediatric oncologists for a budget proposal. As a result, the Liberal government recently committed $30 million in funding for childhood cancer research. Helena was the 2017 Children's Miracle Network Champion and the 2019 Ontario Junior Citizen Award recipient and was recognized twice in the House of Commons in Ontario.
And the work is being started all because of an 11-year-old girl who now is just a regular 16-year-old girl and in grade 11. In her spare time, she does what any other 16-year-old kid would do. She likes playing video games, she does martial arts and of course, loves anything to do with fantasy and sci-fi. I cannot wait to get into her story and her work and share it all with you today
A message from Helena:
"I want Canadian kids to have the best chance at survival. We are focused on getting the first ever National Childhood Cancer strategy and in systems changes to ensure fast, fair and safe access to trials and treatments no matter where a child with cancer lives in Canada or how much money their family has. I want more kids to survive cancer like I did."
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Until next time friends! Do the hard things, and show up like you mean it! Without Losing Your Cool!