The Gift of Growing Up - Woman Up

Working alongside World Child Cancer in 2017 I was able to understand the mission of the charity and speak with several representatives about the work that they do. I was delighted to be working with them to provide imagery for their campaign and, as such, when I was once again approached to be a part of this new campaign I had no hesitation in finding suitable dates for us to work together.

The previous campaign and this new one have both gone under the name of The Gift of Growing Up, however, this year the campaign also goes with the tagline of Woman Up. This photo series saw children from the ages of two to ten dressing up as past presidents, role models, and activists to celebrate the achievements that have been possible when men and women have worked together on something truly important, highlighting that the future of paediatric cancer care should be no different. Given this brief, photographs and illustrations of the chosen inspirational people were selected and given to me to loosely replicate in the planned photoshoot.

I am delighted to now publish these photographs from this photoshoot and inform you that the campaign is now live, details for which and for how you can get involved are featured after these pictures…

Misha (age 5) as Rosie the Riveter

Callum (age 6) and Ariana (age 5) as John F Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy

Amber (age 3) as Florence Nightingale

Elizabeth (age 4) as Amelia Earhart

Eva (age 2) as Audrey Hepburn

Mathew (age 9) and Ngaatendwe (age 10) as Barrack Obama and Michelle Obama

Radha (age 9) as Emmelline Pankhurst

Asha (age 6) as Freda Khalo

The photo series, commissioned as part of World Child Cancer’s Gift of Growing Up appeal, aims to increase public understanding of the issue of childhood cancer in developing countries and raise awareness of the work World Child Cancer is doing in training more healthcare professionals, providing essential support to families and empowering nurses to improve standards of care and survival rates for children with cancer.

In developed countries like the UK, survival rates for children with cancer can be as high as 80%, but in developing countries these drop to as low as 10%. All donations made during the appeal will be doubled by the UK Government, through to 30th June 2019.

Bangladesh has a population of over 164 million people yet there are only nine Government hospitals equipped to provide paediatric oncology care - just six of these have qualified paediatric oncologists, the majority of which are male.

The majority of nurses in developing countries are female, and there is a strong gender divide within the healthcare system.

World Child Cancer want to empower women within developing countries by providing them with a voice which they would not have otherwise had. By equipping nurses at each unit with leadership and management skills as nurse educators, we can raise their status and ensure they can continue to provide essential care and support to the families they meet.

Jon Rosser, CEO at World Child Cancer, says: “Every child, regardless of where they live, should receive the best possible care when it comes to every stage of cancer treatment.

“With this campaign, we’re looking back through history and celebrating the incredible things that have been achieved when strong women have been given a voice.

“There are already a huge number of amazing female nurses working tirelessly in developing countries, and we want to inspire them to feel empowered and heard in their healthcare practice.

“By equipping nurses at each unit with leadership and management skills as nurse educators, we can raise their status and ensure they can continue to provide this essential care and support to the families they meet.”

Penny Mordaunt, International Development Secretary, says: “The UK is leading the way in supporting strong voices to stand up for what they believe in, and cancer should be no different. The Gift of Growing Up campaign from World Child Cancer is our opportunity to give a voice to those who are working tirelessly to help families in Bangladesh who simply aren’t given the same opportunities when it comes to cancer care.”

“Every donation made by the generous British public to the Gift of Growing Up appeal will be matched pound for pound by the UK government, meaning we will double the difference Britons can make to those children in need and their families.”

In 2018, World Child Cancer appointed their first Psychosocial Support Advisor, Megan Cruise, who is working to lessen the enormous impact childhood cancer has on every aspect of family life, from emotional to financial.

Megan says: “Cancer impacts the entire family. From the enormous financial strains when paying for treatment to the emotional stress from seeing your child suffer, mental health support is vital in supporting families.

“We know it’s not always easy to talk about the emotional impact of cancer, and the strain on the mental health of families involved. That’s why we’re encouraging families to speak up about their struggles.

“We will encourage families to complete treatment cycles and offer them the opportunity for advice and support to relieve some of the burdens of having a child with cancer.”

Sima Sthanakiya, mum and travel blogger from the Curious Pixie, whose daughters Asha and Radha appear as Frida Khalo and Emmeline Pankhurst in the shoot, explained her reasons for getting involved in the campaign: “We are so lucky that our children can grow up and use their strong voices to achieve just about anything they want here in the UK.

“But many in developing countries don’t have that same opportunity. I hope these photos go a little way in giving female nurses across Bangladesh the encouragement to achieve amazing things.”

You can see more of World Child Cancer’s work and information for the charity here:

As part of its Gift of Growing Up campaign, World Child Cancer is asking everyone to get involved by donating £4 at or texting GROWING to 70085 to donate £4.

You can also get involved on social media by sharing an image of your female hero on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtags #WomanUp #UKAidMatch and #WChildCancer and tag in three friends asking them to do the same.

World Child Cancer supports over 5,000 children with cancer each year across 10 countries. But with an estimated 200,000 unnecessary deaths each year, there is so much more that needs to be done.

World Child Cancer builds partnerships between doctors and nurses at hospitals in the developed world who provide training and mentoring for doctors in developing countries. It also helps with transport, food and accommodation costs to meet the wider needs of families who have a child with cancer.

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