Tonight I am taking a break from my typical posts about my adorable triplets, because, well this topic deserves it...
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
In my relatively short career I have had the incredible opportunity to work at our local children's hospital on our Pediatric Oncology Unit. I have also had the opportunity to be a part of a research team to make changes to positively affect the current treatment that those children receive during their active medical treatment to maybe, just maybe, lessen the physical effects that the current treatments have on their little bodies. Through this I have met many amazing little ones who were the most courageous people I have ever known, all fighting for their lives. Many of those children are still fighting with everything they have, some are currently in remission, and unfortunately more than is acceptable have lost their fight. It is incredibly difficult to treat a child, one last time, simply for pain management, knowing that the next day that child may no longer be there because their body just couldn't take it any longer. But I'm "just" the therapist. I am not the parent. As a parent, I cannot imagine the pain, the heart ache, the absolute despair that would be watching your child leave you. As a parent, I don't want any other parent to ever have to suffer through that loss. Which is why I support Childhood Cancer Awareness...
Did you know...
~13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer EVERY YEAR in the United States.
~1 in 5 will DIE.
~46 school children will be diagnosed with cancer EVERY DAY.
~Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among US children under 14.
~Only 4% of the National Cancer Institute's budget goes to pediatric funding.
~The average age of death from pediatric cancer is 8.
~Childhood cancer kills more children than AIDS, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and congenital anomalies combined.
~3 out of 5 children who survive suffer devastating late effects such as secondary cancers, muscular difficulties and infertility.
~The causes of childhood cancers are largely unknown, and for the most part they cannot be prevented and are not a result of lifestyle choices.
These children need a VOICE. Childhood cancer needs more funding for research. Research to improve treatments and give these kids HOPE for a true CURE. Better, less toxic treatments for today's childhood cancer patients will lead to fewer late effects for tomorrow's survivors. I have seen the results of treatment that have caused children to need to relearn how to walk, sit, play. I have seen teenagers lose their chance at college athletics because of the side effects of their treatment, treatment necessary to save their lives.
It's easy to turn the other way and pretend it doesn't exist... but it does and it is life changing for the child, their siblings and their parents.
Check out www.curesearch.org or www.stjude.org or www.alexslemonade.org to find out how to be a part of the cause to raise awareness and support our children, because they are our future.
Go Gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness!