By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK With dozens of children living with cancer, the First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba officially opened the “Desert Cycle Challenge” project intended to raise funds needed to help children living with this killer disease. Madam Pohamba during the official launch donated N$1 000 from her own pocket, with other companies coming on board. As part of its commitment, Nampharm donated N$10 000 while Integrated Management Solutions (IMS), a software development business in the IT sector, gave N$5 000. The Nampharm Foundation Trust is an independent charitable foundation intending to utilise funds to provide medicine, medical treatment and information sessions for persons suffering from specified illnesses within Namibia. Nampharm deals with cases from newborn babies to children aged eighteen and under. “There are at present 25 cases known to us through the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) which we work closely with and also through the hospital and the paediatricians,” stated the Manager of Nampharm Trust Carol Semedo. The project launched on Thursday would see six cyclists tackle a four-day trip from Windhoek to Swakop-mund. The team consists of four Nampharm staff members and a couple from the Netherlands. They will depart on Saturday 20 May and intend to arrive in Swakopmund on Tuesday 23 May 2006. Since the launch of the Nampharm Trust in July 2005, the foundation has five stories of success to tell. Semedo confirmed that five children have been help-ed through this project. The most common cancer in children in Namibia is leukaemia, eye cancer and in rare instances, cases of lung cancer. Leukemia is a type of cancer that starts from the white blood cells (called lymphocytes) of the bone marrow and then invades the blood. In time, it can also invade other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen. “We are encouraging businesses to help in any way they can because we need to raise at least N$100 000 by May in order for the foundation to reach out to these children.” Once this money is raised, it would be channelled towards helping cancer children who have trust accounts and for children without accounts, bills are paid to doctors. However, the N$100 000 can only be enough for five children. Semedo also indicated that in Namibia, a lot of cancer cases in children are detected late due to ignorance. Fever, unexplained bruises, lumps on the body and squinted eyes, are some of the signs. The first project, the ‘Small Kids Big Heart’, is passionately dedicated to helping Namibian children and their families who are living with cancer to make it through their journey in the most positive way possible.