Children with cancer and their families experience many hardships because of the childhood cancer. As Eisai employees aiming to contribute to cancer patients, we held the painting exhibition, lectures and discussions at our headquarters and the Tsukuba Research Laboratories with the cooperation of Children’s Cancer Association of Japan (CCAJ) in order empathize with true feelings of people affected by cancer.
* Children’s Cancer Association of Japan (CCAJ): The CCAJ was established in October 1968 by the parents who lost their children to cancer on the basis of hope to make the childhood cancer curable and of purpose to support the parents who have children with cancer. The CCAJ aims to contribute to improve the social welfare and national health by raising awareness, consulting, investigating and researching, supporting, managing the accommodation, and other businesses regarding the childhood cancer, a children’s intractable disease. http://www.ccaj-found.or.jp/
In October 2019, Eisai headquarters and the Tsukuba Research Laboratories were brimmed with 15 paintings drawn by children with cancer. The comments of the children who painted and their families were added on these paintings. The timing of drawing these paintings was varied, such as before cancer onset, during painful treatment, in remission, etc. However, every painting and comment were filled with lots of thoughts of children and their parents, such as wishes for healthy and casual daily life, dreams of children fighting cancer, joy for remission, appreciation to children facing with cancer, pray for happiness in heaven, etc.
[Lectures and Discussions]
We invited the families of children with cancer and CCAJ’s staffs to our headquarters and the Tsukuba Research Laboratories, and they told us about their experiences, thoughts, and the CCAJ’s activities including suffering from hovering between life and death, distress of siblings of children with cancer, as well as concerns of working and schooling, bullying, growth, recurrence risk, and difficulties of late effects*, that they have to face even if after remission. We could feel a part of reality of children with cancer and their families that we would never know in our daily business.
*Late effects: Remaining effects of treatment on childhood cancer and new complications to be developed many years later.
Eisai will continue to consider and work with members on what we can do based on the perception obtained through this project. In addition, we are planning to hold more painting exhibitions at our other business offices.
[Thoughts of Project Members]
- What are children suffering from?
Every time I see children with pajamas at the major hospitals, I felt really sad, and I thought I may have something I can do for them. This became an opportunity for me to come up with this event. Through this project, many employees at the headquarters and the Tsukuba Research Laboratories were able to come into contact with “reality” of childhood cancer. The unmet needs such as medical shortage, poor environment, as well as long-term economic and mental burdens, were way beyond our imagination. I think that it would be a first step to know the thoughts of children with cancer and their families, and to let many people including Eisai employees be aware of those thoughts. I would like to keep thinking what we can do, so that people become aware of environments and problems surrounding childhood cancer as well as that children with cancer and their families have a society to make it easier to fight against cancer.
- The childhood cancer has various difficulties. These difficulties can never be solved with only the medicine itself. The lecture gave us a lot of awareness about the present situation. Every time I think of the 15 paintings, I always think of what we can do for the children fighting against cancer and the environment surrounding the childhood cancer. Through this activity, I will continue to increase the number of members who put our heads together and lead to concrete actions supporting children fighting against childhood cancer.