Sask. parents asking for more research money for pediatric cancer

Sask. parents asking for more research money for pediatric cancer

Carolyn Anderson and Jenn Lyster know only too well about the harsh realities families face when children are diagnosed with cancer.

Anderson's son Micah was diagnosed with cancer at age nine. Lyster's daughter Tegan was diagnosed at age two.

"I feel sometimes the media may portray them as happy, smiling bald kids," Lyster told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning. "But it's very hard watching them suffer through the treatments. It's very hard on little developing bodies."

Both mothers are hoping to get more funding for pediatric cancer. They say that only four per cent of Canadian cancer research funding is directed at children.

"We just need to come together as a country," said Anderson. "We need to let the government know that the amount of funding that is being allocated to childhood cancer research is not enough."

Anderson and Lyster are asking people to sign a petition directed to the federal government asking that more research dollars flow to pediatric cancer.

"The treatments that we have right now are so damaging to their bodies and so toxic — so many life-long side effects," said Lyster. "You may not see them for years, but many children, later in adult life, will have a chronic health condition from the treatment they received."

While both their children are now cancer-free, the two mothers say Micah and Tegan continue to suffer from the after effects of cancer treatments.

"Every day, he needs an injection that allows him to grow," said Anderson. "Every day he needs to take thyroid medication, and just recently he had to have cataract surgery in both eyes."

The petition to the federal government closes on Thursday.