Children and humour go together. That’s why the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation decided to hold the Childhood Cancer Gala – the Swedish Humour Prize
“Children treated for cancer and their families are in an extremely tough situation. Just when it’s hardest, it may feel extra liberating to laugh and experience hope,” says Anne Bergsten from the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation. According to a Sifo survey, 84 per cent of the audience reported that the gala showed that there is hope.

The Childhood Cancer Gala – the Swedish Humour Prize was held for the first time in 2015 and was broadcast live on Swedish Channel 5 (Kanal 5). The Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation had been interested in arranging a TV gala for a long time. The idea of combining the event with the Swedish Humour Prize felt appropriate, at the same time that it would keep costs down, which was also an important aspect.

“We didn’t want to arrange just another gala like all the others; we wanted to do something different. That’s why we chose humour, which is an integral part of children’s lives,” says Anne Bergsten. Research shows that children laugh or smile an average of 400 times a day, while adults do so only 15 times a day. Even children undergoing difficult treatments for childhood cancer laugh a lot.

“For us, humour and joy are also part of the organisation. There are clowns at the hospitals and the foundations offer fun activities that help families to temporarily forget about the disease.”

photo: Anders G Warne

The purpose of the Childhood Cancer Gala – the Swedish Humour Prize is to help by raising money for the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation’s three missions – research and training, advice and support, and information – while at the same time cheering on Sweden’s comedy elite. The gala was broadcast from Berns, a Stockholm hotspot. In addition to a number of comedians, many children have been involved in one way or another in the work of the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation during the year. One of them was Leo, nine years old, who previously suffered from leukaemia.

“I like Jockiboi most – he’s so funny,” Leo said about the YouTube star Joakim “Jockiboi” Lundell, the winner of the Kids’ Choice Award.

The Kids’ Choice Award was presented by ice hockey legend Peter Forsberg and star swimmer Sarah Sjöström, along with the children Mattias and Nike, who have been treated for cancer – a quartet that was also seen in the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation’s campaigns.

The gala was held on 3 October and raised a total of SEK 44 million to fight childhood cancer, mainly from new Child Supporters, but also from viewers who called in to make donations. A Sifo survey showed that 88 per cent of viewers felt that they were emotionally affected by the gala and 83 per cent thought it was engaging.

“We are now planning the 2017 gala. The hope is to raise even more funds, and to make the gala even more popular and engaging,” says Anne Bergsten.

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