Embracing Resilience: Navigating Childhood Cancer Advocacy in Nigeria

By CAC2 Student Member Joshua Omale

As I reflect on my journey as a childhood cancer advocate here in Nigeria, I’m continually reminded of the profound resilience ingrained within the fabric of our communities. It’s a resilience born not just of strength, but of necessity, as we confront the daunting challenges that childhood cancer presents.

In the heart of Nigeria, where resources are often scarce and access to healthcare is a privilege rather than a right, our advocacy takes on a deeper significance. It becomes a lifeline for families grappling with the emotional and financial burdens of a cancer diagnosis, offering hope where there was once despair, and light where darkness threatened to consume.

For me, this journey began with a deeply personal experience—the loss of my beloved brother, Joseph, to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. His courageous battle and our family’s unwavering spirit in the face of adversity ignited a flame within me, propelling me into the world of childhood cancer advocacy and mortality prevention with a newfound sense of purpose and determination.

Joined by an incredible team of advocates here in Nigeria, including myself as the sole representative of the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer (CAC2), I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of collective action. Together, we’ve rallied our voices, resources, and expertise to make a tangible difference in the lives of children and families affected by cancer.

But our work is far from over. The road ahead is fraught with challenges— lack of awareness, limited access to essential treatments, inadequate funding, and societal stigmas that continue to cast shadows over our efforts. Yet, it is precisely in the face of these challenges that our resilience shines brightest.

With each passing day, our advocacy grows stronger, our partnerships deeper, and our impact more profound. We are not just advocates; we are architects of change, shaping a world where every child has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of their circumstances.

In November 2023, I founded the Campus Cancer Awareness Initiative Nigeria. This is Nigeria’s first campus-focused awareness network for childhood cancer and other forms of the disease.

The maiden event at the University of Jos saw the initiative gain great momentum. Our methodology involves organizing engaging events and impactful campaigns on the university campus to inform and inspire young people to be an extension of the health equity goal in treatment and care that we seek to achieve.

We reach about 15,000 students during the two weeks of the campaign, a true testament to the reality of driving real change through the engagement of young people in academia.  We intend to keep working.

The immediate goal right now is to expand the initiative’s reach through increased social media awareness and increasing chapters on other Nigerian campuses.

Another part of the plan, in light of the prevalence of cervical cancer and its high mortality rate Nigeria, the Campus Cancer Awareness Initiative Nigeria will extend its scope to include HPV vaccination for female campus students.  We hope to help to others realize this disease is preventable and that we can secure a healthier future for young girls.

We have also been careful to identify success measures as we work to increase awareness, influence policy making, and raise much needed support.  We want to cause a ripple that will lead to better treatment and care and ultimately preventing the scourge of deaths due to childhood cancer.

As we look to the future, I’m filled with a sense of optimism and determination. Together, let us raise our voices, inspire action, and stand as beacons of light in the darkness of childhood cancer. Together, we can—and will—make a difference.

So how can you be a part of this?

Whether you are a campus student, an organization, or an individual that believes in this mission; you can help move this cause forward.

Engage the magic of collaboration and partnerships, provide your heartfelt support, engage in our media space, join our advocacy campaigns.  When you bring ideas, skills, resources, or just positive vibes, you can contribute in advancing this cause. And together, we shall make a lasting impact in this realm till we realize the reality of a childhood cancer-free world!

Join me on this journey of resilience and hope. Together, let us be the change we wish to see in the world.

Find out ways you can be involved here: https://joshuaomale.com/get-involved/


Joshua Omale, a college student pursuing a degree in Biochemistry at the University of Jos, Nigeria, is a passionate childhood cancer advocate. Channeling personal grief into purpose, Joshua is dedicated to transforming tragedy into positive change. Fueled by the memory of his late brother Joseph, who battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma with unwavering courage, Joshua stands alongside the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer in the tireless pursuit of a world where no child suffers the devastating impact of this relentless adversary- starting from his dear country Nigeria. With a commitment to raising awareness globally and amplifying the voices of families affected by childhood cancer, Joshua shares his family’s journey through heartfelt storytelling, and leads impactful initiatives in his country, Nigeria- bridging borders to foster unity in the fight for a brighter, cancer-free future for children everywhere. You can reach him directly at: