Childhood Cancer in Japan
Childhood cancer is the number one cause of death for children in Japan after accidents. A child is diagnosed with cancer in Japan about once every 3-4 hours each day. While the prognosis for many childhood cancers has improved significantly, the treatment process is still long and grueling. Children undergoing treatment for cancer in Japan are generally hospitalized for quite a long time – 6 months to one year or more. This puts an incredible burden on the patients and on the family supporting them. For example, mothers go to the hospital daily, staying from early morning until their child goes to sleep at night. By necessity, their world becomes the hospital, even if this is at the expense of spending time with the rest of their family. For the children undergoing cancer treatment, hospitalization can be isolating (often children under 12 are not allowed to visit the cancer ward) and frustrating. Most kids in treatment really want nothing more than to do normal kid things – like play with friends, eat what they want and go to school.
The Tyler Foundation and Shine On! Kids
The Tyler Foundation was incorporated as a Non-Profit Organization under the laws of Japan in July 2006 and has been supported entirely by private and corporate donations. The creation of the organization was inspired by the smiles and courage of Mark and Kim Ferris’ son Tyler, who spent much of his short life battling a very difficult-to-cure kind of leukemia. After they lost Tyler, they realized there were many ways to take Tyler’s struggles and their experience and create something positive for families going through what they had endured. While the level of medical treatment in Japan is one of the best in the world, the area of patient support is still relatively undeveloped. The organization hopes to redefine the concept of patient support in Japan to create a complete patient support system: from the moment of diagnosis, throughout treatment and even after discharge from hospital.
When Kim and Mark Ferris started the Tyler Foundation – it really was about a family’s personal struggles and inspiration.
But it has grown into something so much more than that.
In seven years the organization touched the lives of thousands of children, parents and siblings all over Japan through its programs. And today, in 2012, the organization is about those children – their courage, their smiles, their stories.
A name was needed that was big enough to encompass all of this history and all of these accomplishment throughout Japan. A name that tells people what the organization does and why. A name that’s about positivity. A name that’s looking forward. So in September 2012, the Tyler Foundation adopted the brand name Shine On! Kids. As of December 7th, 2012, out of the 9,000 NPOs in Tokyo, Shine On! Kids is one of eight officially certified by the Japanese government.
Shine On! Kids is about helping children face life with confidence, smiles, hope and courage. It’s about helping kids in Japan with cancer and other serious illnesses truly Shine On!
Drawing from the personal experience of the Ferris’, listening to the needs of parents and with the guidance of a quality Japanese medical advisory team, Shine On! Kids is working towards the following goals:
- To empower children with cancer and their families through innovative programs using arts in medicine, animal therapy and skilled counseling.
- To realize excellence in medical teams and treatment by providing additional medical staff, enabling collaboration among medical teams and supporting targeted research.
- To raise awareness of childhood cancer in the community through academic circles, general public volunteering and corporate sponsor involvement.
The Tyler Foundation’s Shine On! Kids has established a range of unique programs to make the fight a little easier and the future much brighter for children with cancer and other serious illnesses and their families. Today, Shine On! Kids’ programs are supporting children in hospitals throughout Japan. Please see our programs page for more details!
Since October 2008, Shine On! Kids has been a member of the International Confederation of Childhood Cancer Parent Organizations (ICCCPO). This worldwide organization is dedicated to realizing cooperation and the sharing of information and experiences between parent groups across the globe. The goal of ICCCPO is to provide the growing network of organizations the resources and support to improve the treatment and care of children with cancer in their home countries.
We welcome your feedback on the website and foundation, and your questions about any of our events and activities. Also, if you have a story you’d like to share related to childhood cancer, please do get in touch with us. To contact us, please send an email firstname.lastname@example.org.