The initiative is launched during the international month of awareness about pediatric cancer (September) that, this year, Acreditar dedicated to the rights of caregivers, who are above all parents who go through “very complex” periods, from diagnosis to living with the disease.
"We think it is important to alert Portuguese society because they are not always on an equal footing with other people, especially because they are in very fragile situations and also deserve special care and that is why this year we chose to talk about caregivers", said Margarida Cruz.
This is the first time that Acreditar has run a campaign with the launch of a petition, as it is “a very strong issue”.
According to Margarida Cruz, these parents “depend a lot” on the understanding” of employers to have a period of time that helps them recover psychologically, but especially physically.
“Many of them have spent years accompanying their sick child, often away from home, leaving the other children in the hands of a family member and alone, and then find themselves faced with a period of mourning that lasts five days. Five days is almost impossible to deal with the bureaucratic tasks that are inherent to death”, she explained.
On the other hand, the petition aims to allow everyone to be “on an equal footing”, because there are many employers who understand and give these parents more days than provided for by law, but not all of them manage.
“That's why we launched this petition with the motto 'the mourning of a lifetime does not fit in five days' and we hope that the entire Portuguese society understands the legitimacy and justice of what is inherent in this petition and joins us so that we can change things”.
Margarida Cruz also hopes that this initiative will be “a real opportunity” to talk about grief, an issue “so little talked about”, and how to help these parents.
“I'm not saying to get over [the loss], but at least to be able to live more peacefully,” she said, stressing that these parents need support.
Every year around 400 children are diagnosed with cancer in Portugal, with a survival rate of around 80 percent.