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Mar 3, 2023

Children celebrate Child Stimulation Month Through A Child Beating Cancer

As we celebrate child stimulation in the month of March, Sabreena Daly got an interesting take on how one school is embracing the festivities. This week’s Bright Side took her to the Dangriga Cancer Center where a ringing of the bell brought about a celebration of children for a battle one by one of their own.


Sabreena Daly, Reporting

If you ask a child, “What is cancer?” These are some of the responses you might get.

Deryn Ciego

Deryn Ciego, Student 

“It’s when you get bald and bruises get on your body.”  

Prodigy Fijo

Prodigy Fijo, Student
“Cancer is a disease when you can lose your hair and it affects some vessels inside your skin.”

Jaylin Augustine

Jaylin Augustine, Student

“Cancer is when you start to lose your hair and the blood vessels that you have, they start to turn bad and basically it’s a disease that, that will affect you the most.”


The month of March is recognized for advocacy of child stimulation. It is embracing the emotional and physical needs of children by exposing them to concepts of learning from as early as their birth. For Coastland Education Institute in Dangriga, it was an opportunity to learn and understand more about cancer through one of their own. Nevan Pacheco is Belize’s youngest cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of three and today was a celebration, as he would ring the symbolic bell of victory for the first time.

Pauline Okolo

Pauline Okolo, Oncology Nurse

“So the bell is like, the hardest part of the battle is over. The battle is over, and that’s the emotional part for the patient. It’s like, I can’t believe I’ve actually come to the end of this. I can remember when he just started and he saw his mates, you know, ringing that bell. He turned around and asked his mom, when am I gonna do this? And the mother said, you have a long way to go, child. So I looked at him and said, Nevan, not to worry. Your time is coming and his time is now.”

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells and is one of the most common illnesses that affect children and teenagers. For Nevan’s parents, the diagnosis was their first encounter with someone afflicted by cancer. Soon enough, they would understand that, at times,  his therapy required moving to another country for treatment.

Araceli Sanchez

Araceli Sanchez, Mother

“It was hard because I told him none of my family had that. I don’t know where that came from because none of the family have that kind of sickness. He never looked sick. Um, he started with pain in his belly and fever. Um, then we carry him to Doctor because his belly was getting big. When we went to the doctor, the doctor said his blood was at percent. He had no more blood.”

Marlon Pacheco

Marlon Pacheco, Father
“Only her and my little boy could go. It was Covid times and during that time they weren’t giving  passports so we could pass the border. It was really kind of difficult to So you stayed home with the other I will have to stay home and Well, like we don’t have our own house. We rent too, so we have to pay rent and I have to stay and work.”

It’s a fight the body has to overcome to survive cancer. But what is often overlooked are the emotional and mental tolls. Nevan’s mother shared the hardest part of this journey: hearing her son verbally express giving up.

Araceli Sanchez

“He always told me while he was sick that he would prefer to die. He did not want to suffer. But I know that God gave him another opportunity. I know he would be strong. He’s strong. He passed through a lot of things, but he wanted to go to school. And he’d tell me, mom, I want to sing. I want to go to church. And he asked every time he, he want, he want, but he couldn’t go outside. Every time he asked me. He wanted to be somebody like those children that play…that goes outside.”

So now that the battle is won, Nevan can achieve all the desires he once expressed. And Coastland Education Institute sent over his peers for the celebration. Nurse Prosper Fijo, is also an administrative staff at the institute. He shared the importance of including the children in this celebration during Child Stimulation month.

Prosper Fiju

Prosper Fiju, Nurse
“In the month of March particularly, we have the child stimulation month, which is a targeted event to mostly three year olds and four year olds, which is pre schoolers. But for us, we take it serious. We translate the child’s stimulation package into the primary school and because essentially they’re all children. And, um, while they are stimulated every day, while their sense of awareness is stimulated through education, we thought that in the month of March, why not go a little out of the regular to bring a little bit of more awareness to these kids? In reality, cancer can affect children. So we thought why not bring the awareness to that population? Why not make them aware particularly about the sickness cancer, because that’s a debilitating sickness…It, it can take a toll in the whole, uh, body, particularly leukemia, which is a cancer of the blood.”


For Nevan, this celebration was for a second chance at life and the bell is a signal that’s it’s now begun. Looking on the Bright Side, I’m Sabreena Daly.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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