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Irish doctor caring for children with cancer in Tanzania

Tanzania, home to Mount Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar Island, the Serengeti National Park, is a rapidly growing, largely young, poor & rural population exceeding 60 million people, and one Irish children’s cancer specialist.

Dr Trish Scanlan, Paediatric Oncologist and Wicklow native has been working with children’s cancer services in Tanzania for over 13 years. During that time ‘remarkable progress’ has been made ‘changing the way an entire country treats children with cancer’ as Professor Patrick Murray stated when awarding her the 2014 UCD alumni award for Medicine.

The Tumaini La Maisha/Their Lives Matter (TLM) NGO (founded in 2011 by Dr Trish and supporters), supports government hospitals in their provision of children’s cancer services by providing the following assistance: chemotherapy, diagnostic support, medical staff and training, nutritional smoothies, play therapy, a school programme, yoga and transport. TLM hosts a 22-bed home from home style hostel for families to stay for the duration of the child’s treatment. All services are provided free of charge to all patients.

Children’s cancer services have grown in Tanzania as a result of TLM’s efforts, from a single shed-like ward with little basic medical equipment but bucket loads of compassion and care from local staff, to a growing (11 to date!) nationwide network of collaborating partner centres. Survival rates have also gone from less than 10% to close to 60% and the number of children treated each year from 120-720! TLM supports every child across this network.

Irish Aid and the Irish Embassy in Dar es Salaam, have supported children’s cancer services for more than 10 years. Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin has contributed enormously to the success of this programme providing pathology, haematology and a vast array of expert services. The people of Ireland have also been consistently generous. In 2019 the faculty of Paediatrics at the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin awarded Dr Trish with the Kathleen Lynn Medal for ‘exceptional service on behalf of children’.

The generosity and community spirit in Ireland through this crisis has once again been unwavering. It is something we are all immensely proud of as a nation. We at TLM hope you might consider extending that generosity to join the global village that is fighting for these precious children facing cancer in Tanzania to have a chance to grow up healthy and strong. Consider supporting our #WeAreTheVillage campaign here.

Ripplezoo and TLM are both excited about the possibilities of working together to raise funds and awareness to support TLM’s work in Tanzania. TLM are grateful for Ripplezoo’s support and commitment to others. Together, we will go further and work harder. Together we can! #WeAreTLM

Peace Over War