Last December, the Flemish cancer fundraising foundation ‘Kom op tegen Kanker’ handed out nearly 19 million euros worth of grants to 73 initiatives that aim to improve survival and quality of life of people who are faced with cancer. The festive gathering in Ancienne Belgique in Brussels also saw the launch of a new award for the most patient-minded project.
Director Marc Michils: “Every year, over 40,000 people in Flanders are diagnosed with cancer, and one in three does not survive. And those who do manage to overcome their cancer often face years of after-effects. This is why research into new treatments is just as important as support to initiatives that aim to improve quality of life of patients and former patients.”
Every year, ‘Kom op tegen Kanker’ receives hundreds of grant applications. All these are carefully assessed by expert committees as well as patient organisations. Marc Michils: “Kom op tegen Kanker is unique in the way we finance projects because we give patients and ex-patients an active role in the selection process. Their experience makes them the perfect judges to assess whether a project fits in with the needs of cancer patients.”
This year, two new awards were launched: the Jean-Jacques Cassiman prize for the most patient-oriented biomedical research project, and the Kathy Lindekens prize for the most patient-oriented psycho-social project.
The first award went to prof. dr. Frédéric Amant of KU Leuven who researches long term consquences of cancer therapy during pregnancy for both mother and child. He is delighted with the recognition. “Our research really focuses on the patient and the results are implemented very rapidly in hospitals. Fewer and fewer pregnancies are terminated because of cancer treatment.”
The project ‘attentive visitors in home care’ of prof. dr. Kenneth Chambaere (professor in end-of-life ethics UGent) was the recipient of the Kathy Lindekens prize. This project involves training volunteers in palliative home care to detect psychological and social needs in patients, and to pass this first hand information on to care workers. “Even when it becomes apparent that the cancer cannot be cured, these volunteers ensure that patients never lose touch with their humanity, by surrounding them with mental and social support. This award is a recognition for all those volunteers.”
Of the almost 19 million euros, over 15,6 million is divided among 33 biomedical research projects and 19 grants. Almost 3 million euros is allocated for 3 psycho-social research projects and 17 care initiatives. There is also a grant of almost 350,000 euro for a research project in the field of prevention.
Click HERE for a full listing of the 73 projects that are being supported by Kom op tegen Kanker.