Kiara Szabo is 10 and a cancer warrior. Two years ago the London girl was diagnosed with leukaemia and began the hardest battle of her childhood. With support of an amazing team of child cancer experts, her family, and Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario she is now in remission and on her way back to being a typical kid.
But along the way, during a painful challenging fight no child should have to face, she found strength through martial arts. Szabo was one of three children demonstrating a program, Kids Kicking Cancer at London Health Sciences Centre. London’s Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario is the first children’s hospital in Canada to have the program. The program began about 10 years ago in the U.S. and has spread world-wide.
“The launch of Kids Kicking Cancer is most unique. We are the very first Canadian children’s hospital to bring Kids Kicking Cancer to kids in Canada,” said hospital CEO and president Bonnie Adamson.
Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, founder of the martial arts relaxation program for kids struggling with cancer told a crowd of journalists, bloggers, parents and health care workers the program has been incredibly successful helping children reduce and manage pain during cancer treatment. The program teaches relaxation and mindfulness in a way so that children are better able to cope with pain.
Kiara’s Mom Roxanne said her daughter always wanted to try martial arts but never had time, and then, of course, her diagnosis made her exhausted and busy with appointments and hospital visits. When Kids Kicking Cancer was offered as an option in hospital they were immediately interested.
“At first I didn’t really get to do a lot of it because I was tired a lot of the time,” said Kiara. “But then they taught me to do different hits. It makes me relaxed. It makes me feel like a regular kid.”
Three children at the hospital – Liam, Seth and Kiara demonstrated visualizing the dark depressing parts of cancer – the fear, sickness and worry – and how they maintain control over these emotions by breathing and striking martial arts blockers.
Montreal Canadians player Brandon Prust, was a London Knight when he began visiting the local hospital and he connected with several kids battling cancer. Now, he has a charity called Prusty 4 Kids. A recent Prusty 4 Kids golf tournament raised over $100,000 for the hospital and that funding makes Kids Kicking Cancer possible.
“We are very grateful to Brandon Prust, for all that he has done for LHSC. Children’s Hospital depends on, and is very grateful for, all the support we receive from the community,” said Adamson.
Some of my followers at thrifty momma’s tips.com know our entire family, with the exception of me, practices martial arts. I have seen firsthand the benefits for children needing help with self esteem or bullying. My youngest with special needs thrives at the dojo. She is now a junior black belt. I write about her often and how she overcomes obstacles through martial arts. I am not surprised someone found a way to make this sport and art a means of helping children through health crises. One of our closest friends has a teenage son who was once a child cancer patient at Children’s Hospital in London. He has been in remission for many years and was always an amazing kid, just like Kiara, Seth and Liam. I support all our local health care facilities and our incredible world class hospitals. This is a great program that benefits many children in need of help.
This year instead of a teacher gift why not donate to Prusty 4 Kids in honour of children and let your child’s teacher know you donated in their name.