The Childhood Cancer Blog

One Year in Pandemic: How COVID-19 Impacted Childhood Cancer

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By: Trish Adkins

One year ago, none of us expected what was to come. From lockdowns to masking to social distancing, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the entire world. For children battling childhood cancer and their families, one year in a pandemic has doubled the pressure and the uncertainty.

The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) Childhood Cancer Blog covered the pandemic and its impact on children with cancer, research and fundraising advocacy efforts. Here’s a look back at the top stories from one year in a global pandemic:

1.    Protecting Children with Cancer
With so much unknown, the start of the pandemic brought a heightened awareness to the risks children in treatment can face as a result of compromised immune systems.

2.    The Financial Impact of the Pandemic
Childhood cancer has an enormous financial impact on families, as many parents must juggle work (or stop working), treatment expenses, travel expenses and regular household expenses, like groceries. The added impact of the pandemic on the economy put childhood cancer families in sometimes precarious situations. ALSF responded with the COVID-19 emergency fund, helping families travel for treatment and supplying grocery store gift cards.

3.    Clinical Trial Flexibility 
Clinicians worked hard to ensure children on clinical trials could continue on trials, no matter where they were. While travel became difficult, clinicians worked to deliver treatment locally to out-of-town patients. This ensured that research and most importantly, treatment, continued for kids.

4.    Socially Distant Lemonade Stands
While being together was not possible, ALSF supporters found ways to continue to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research. ALSF moved Lemonade Days from June to August and for the first time ever, supporters masked up, went virtual and found other ways to pivot.

5.    Continuing Breakthrough Research 
The world shut down and so did labs performing valuable childhood cancer research. However, childhood cancer researchers did not stop their quest for cures. They found ways to continue research, expand their knowledge and collaborate to find cures.

6.    What Matters Most: Children with Cancer 
The pandemic changed many things: but it did not change the ALSF mission of finding safer treatments and cures for children. To better serve families under the unique impact the pandemic had on their journeys, ALSF funded focused surveys through the My Childhood Cancer Survey Series. The first round of data was released, giving valuable insights into to how clinicians and the community can better support childhood cancer families. The second round of surveys is now in progress.

Support ALSF’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund
Families need your help more than ever to ensure their children’s cancer treatment continues during this time. In response, ALSF has established an emergency fund to provide extended hotel stays, grocery assistance and more. Learn how you can help.