Love Your Melon has been proud to support Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO) since the end of 2018. POGO works to ensure that everyone affected by childhood cancer has access to the best care and support. They partner to achieve an excellent childhood cancer care system for children, youth, their families, survivors and healthcare teams in Ontario and beyond. With your help, Love Your Melon has provided POGO with $135,000 in funding to support their financial assistance program.
Over 80% of childhood cancer patients survive at least 5 years, but the treatments they receive may lead to issues down the line, known as late effects. Physical effects coupled with psychological effects means that childhood cancer survivors can face challenges unique to them. Despite the constant challenges they face, these heroes stay resilient. In honor of National Cancer Survivors Day we are grateful to be able to spotlight Logan.
If you or someone you know is a childhood cancer survivor, POGO has a resource designed for survivors 16+, the Survivor to Survivor (S2S) Network. This special series of interactive presentations facilitated by fellow survivors, includes helpful information, discussions, and an opportunity to share personal experiences. You can learn more, watch video testimonials, or register for any of their upcoming programs, here.
On the day I was born, my parents were told that I had neuroblastoma—a solid tumor that occurs only in infants and young children. I had surgery right away to remove the golf-ball sized tumor, but the cancer came back 3 months later, in my liver this time. I was treated with more surgery and four rounds of chemotherapy. I have been declared cancer-free since December 8, 2004.
What most people don’t realize, is that cancer-free isn’t the end for childhood cancer survivors. I will need to be monitored for the rest of my life for what are called “late effects”—essentially side effects from my cancer treatment that can show up later in life.
No matter what the future has in store, I can count on POGO to watch out for me. What makes them unique is that they continue to support childhood cancer survivors well into adulthood to look out for those possible late effects before it is too late. I go to a POGO AfterCare clinic once every 2 years. They do an echocardiogram, because the chemotherapy I took is heart-toxic. When I became a teenager they started to monitor my growth and development, they are keeping a look out for how the cancer treatment might affect my hormones.
It is important for me to raise awareness about the disease and what it means to be a survivor.
The information POGO has gathered for the last 40 years is helping me stay healthy today. And I am proud to say that the information that POGO is gathering from ME and other survivors today, will help young cancer patients of the future.
In addition to being a long-standing Ambassador for POGO, Logan is always raising awareness about the unique concerns faced by childhood cancer survivors. In 2020, Logan came out as non-binary and has used their voice to advocate for equality for transgender people.
As Logan puts it, “Being a childhood cancer survivor with a complex medical history is an isolating experience and part of me didn’t want to further isolate myself coming out as transgender. But another part of me, a bigger part, felt like my health experience prepared me for it. I have been different and felt this ‘otherness’ my whole life and just had to learn to be myself. Being trans is just another aspect of being the most authentic version of me.”