Where are you now? Join the Child Cancer Foundation Alumni Family

Over the last 41 years, Child Cancer Foundation has supported thousands of Kiwi families through childhood cancer. Every family’s journey is different but they all share a common bond.

As people move forward with their lives after childhood cancer, it is natural to lose touch with those you have met along the way, who understand what you have endured and who are facing many of the same challenges going forward.

That’s why we are creating the Child Cancer Foundation Alumni Family. We want to provide the opportunity for people who have experienced childhood cancer in the past, however long ago, to connect with others who have had the same experience.

Whether you had cancer as a child, are a family member of someone who had childhood cancer, or are a member of a bereaved family, we would like you to help us create a community where you can network with fellow alumni, share where you are now, receive ongoing educational information and help us fundraise for the children who are living their own cancer experience right now.

And if you know anyone else who has experienced childhood cancer, we would love you to reach out to them on our behalf.

If you would like to help us build this community, take the first step by registering your details below. Once you have registered your interest, you will be sent a survey to help us understand what you would like to get out of being a part of the Child Cancer Foundation Alumni Family.

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Erica Donovan’s Story

Erica Donovan has known she wanted to be nurse for almost her whole life. The primary healthcare nurse, who has previously worked in paediatric oncology, is passionate about trying to minimise trauma and anxiety in children, because she knows how much a childhood cancer diagnosis can impact you in the long term. She knows because she has experienced it herself.

Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at just two and a half, Erica says her first-hand experience has made her the nurse she is today. “I can understand what the families are going through and connect with the children,” she says. “I know what it’s like to be scared and feel like you can’t control what’s happening to you.”

Now in her early thirties, Erica is working to raise awareness around the effects of childhood cancer that are felt later in life. She struggled with maths in school, and found when she started studying journalism at university that learning short hand was really difficult. It wasn’t until getting a diagnosis from a psychologist that she discovered these difficulties were late effects of childhood cancer.

Rather than breaking her confidence, Erica found this diagnosis empowering. “It helped me see that despite everything I’ve been through, I can work to my strengths and still have a really successful career,” she says.

It’s not just Erica who is dedicated to helping children and families going through what she has experienced – her mum, Christine, has worked for Child Cancer Foundation since 1995. She is currently a Senior Family Support Coordinator in Dunedin, meaning she is able to bring genuine knowledge and compassion to her support of families who are navigating childhood cancer.

For Erica, going through cancer as a child has given her a sense of having a second chance at life. “It motivates me to keep going because I know there are so many people who worked so hard to save me,” she says. “I have to take advantage of that.”

We would love to share more stories about where the Child Cancer Foundation Alumni Family are now. Please register below if you would like to get in touch.