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Smile Smaile Operation

Helping Children Fight Pediatric Cancer

The Smile-Smile Operation

The Smile-Smile Operation helps pediatric cancer patients and their families by providing special moments in special places for both patients and their families.  Although unconventional, the medical field can play a significant role in this endeavor.

 Haruna Yoshioka
 Pediatrician,Project Leader

36963594_1812602338818867_7456567626815242240_n.jpgThe Smile-Smile Operation wants to make at least one family trip so special that the family will remember it for a long time.  Our doctors and nurses support families who are anxious about leaving home and traveling while the child is still in pediatric cancer treatment.Smile-Smile Operation is a program for children under the age of 18 who are currently in treatment or who have completed treatments in the last 12 months and their families.  To ensure that travel is in the best interest of the patient, a copy of doctor approval needs to be obtained.
Depending on the condition of the patient, one of our doctors or nurses will accompany the family outing or trip.

Japan Heart will support the entire travel costs for the child/patient which includes round trip transportation, hotel accommodation, and medical rental equipment for our accompanying medical personnel.  Please note that we ask family members to pay for their own travel costs.
We support one day trips as well as domestic travels with a maximum stay of 2 nights.  Please note that the acceptance provision and itinerary for each event we organize may vary.

Patient and Family Voices

IMG_8186.jpgのサムネイル画像A 16 year old girl who has gone through brain tumor and leukemia joined Kids Seminar says:
“At the Kids Seminar” and “Coffee Seminar”, I had a great time doing things I would not do normally.  Since there were so many volunteers and medical staff around us who came to help when needed, I really felt safe and I was able to try and experience so many different things.  Everyone was so nice.  They always talked to me and asked how I was feeling.  That made me feel safe and I was able to join these seminars without worrying too much about my health.

We also heard from a family whose 10 year old daughter is under treatment for brain tumor:
With the help and support from your staff and volunteers, we really had a great time together.  That trip changed us.   We have decided to become more active and to go to places where we can put a smile on our daughter’s face.  This experience gave us courage and we now think more positively that the cancer can be beat.  Thank you very much!  We want to join your event again!

A message from the family of a 5 year old boy with brain tumor who attended KidZania Koshien and KidZania Tokyo Special Event:
It was exactly 2 weeks after our son left the hospital and the timing was absolutely perfect to celebrate something with him.  Since your nurse and staff came with us and there is an on-site body check, we were able to enjoy the events all day without worrying too much about anything.  Also, it was really good for him to know that there are other children out there who are fighting their own medical challenges.  Thank you very much for this great occasion.

Children Fighting Pediatric Cancer

Millions of children are fighting various illnesses all over the world.  In Japan, there are roughly 2,500 new cases of pediatric cancer reported each year and through significant treatment progress, now 4 out of every 5 Japanese children with pediatric cancer can be cured. 
However, treatment side effects, long hospital stays, and fear of recurrence take immeasurable physical, psychological, and economic tolls on the patients and their families.  

When the initial treatment phase is completed or when the patient and his or her family is presented with the limitations of medical care, we want to give a special gift, a gift of an experience so special that its memory will remain in the patient’s heart for the rest of his or her life.  However, the reality in Japan is that physicians and medical staff face enormous work loads and they cannot accompany patients and their families outside the hospital environment for these special moments.  We started the Smile-Smile Operation as the medical professional volunteers of Japan Heart have more freedom from work load restraints and with more flexibility they can accompany patients and their families to create special memories.

When we look at what is happening overseas, especially in developing Asian countries, the health care programs are not sufficiently managed by the government and countless lives that could have been saved are lost to pediatric cancer due to late diagnosis, insufficient treatment environments, and lack of funds among other challenges.
We opened a Pediatric Medical Center in Cambodia and implemented medical practices to save as many pediatric cancer patients in developing Asian countries.  This Pediatric Medical Center which acts as a hospital hub for pediatric cancer is a realization of our goal of saving children’s lives.

Pediatric Cancer in Asia

Unfortunately, we do not have accurate pediatric cancer statistics for Asian countries.  However, if the cancer risk rate in the region is the same as what we see in Japan, more than 10,000 children in Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos would need pediatric cancer treatment annually.


What is pediatric cancer?

Pediatric cancer is a general term for various types of cancer that children under the age of 15 develop.  Some of the more common pediatric cancers are leukemia, brain tumors, neuroblastoma, and lymphoma. In Japan, 2,500 children contract pediatric cancer each year, which corresponds to the equivalent of 1% of adult cancer risk rates.  This seems low, but we cannot ignore this disease as pediatric cancer is the second leading cause of death following fatal accidents of children over the age of one.  Compared to the 1970’s, the number of deaths from pediatric cancer has decreased in Japan.  Unfortunately, this is simply a direct result of the declining Japanese birthrate while the risk rate of pediatric cancer incidence has remained the same.

Unlike cancer in adults, pediatric cancer is unlikely to be caused by lifestyle or environmental factors.  Rather it is likely to be caused by genetic factors or chance anatomic abnormalities that occurred in the womb.

Treatment results are promising.  With the development of various types of treatment and research on the nature of cancer cells, 80% of pediatric cancer can now be cured.  Though many cases have become curable, there are still risks for complications that are believed to be caused by the treatment themselves.  Dosage, types of anticancer drugs, and the level of radiation therapy may cause complications in the patient’s life later on.  Effects on height growth, cognitive ability, organ functions, future pregnancy, and patients’ offspring are some examples of late complications.

Through these activities, we support pediatric cancer patients and their families, home and abroad. 

1. Our medical staff accompanies the child and family in outings and travels.. 

2. Children with pediatric cancer are invited to events specifically organized in places like KidZania, Tokyo Disneyland, or one-day medical staff workshop experiences. 

3. Medical staff can participate in our programs nationwide through volunteer registration.

4. Pediatric cancer education is promoted through general volunteer registration. 

5. The right kind of social recognition for pediatric cancer survivors is promoted and communicated. 

6. The opening of a pediatric medical center in Cambodia which functions as a hub hospital for Asian developing countries that engages in diagnoses of and treatment for pediatric cancer.. 

Your Support

We would like to ask for your generous support to continue Smile-Smile Operation and make it possible for us to help as many children as possible.
One-time donation


Your donations can be made to;
Name of Beneficiary Bank:  Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Branch: No.097 ,Kamatanishi Branch
Street Address:  5-41-8 Kamata, Ota-ku,
City and State/Province/District: Tokyo
Country:  Japan
Bank Telephone #:  +81-3-3732-3811
Account Number: 2002744
Account Name: JAPAN HEART

Corporate Sponsors

Johnson & Johnson CSR Committee
Shin Nihon Seiyaku Co., Ltd
Sysmex Corporation
The Medtronic Foundation


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