A fellow cancer mother and I were discussing how sick we are of being reminded that September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Her son is a neuroblastoma survivor. My Lily survived a brain tumor.
We are very aware.
But are you?
Yesterday, I spent the day in the Oncology Clinic at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Lily had a day of follow up testing. Chloe and I camped in the waiting room. There were children of every age and from countries all around the world: an international, multi-generational showing of babies with brain tumors; toddlers with leukemia; preschoolers with neuroblastoma; teenagers with kidney cancer.
And my daughter: a six year old who already faced her own mortality at the tender age of 14 months.
Lily's brain tumor forced me into awareness--into the dark reality that cancer is not just a disease that weakens the bodies of healthy adults; but it is a disease that steals childhoods, that robs children of the light in their eyes and steals the normalcy of parenthood.
It is evil.
And sure you may know it exists and yeah, maybe we get that it sucks; but it's rare, right? Not rare enough: my daughter had cancer, as did my cousin's daughter, as did children all throughout my local community.
Childhood cancer happens, daily, to 46 children.
Yet, even as childhood cancer robs children of their lives; it is a under-researched, underfunded disease. Pharmaceutical companies are not lining up to fund cures: adult cancer is bigger business. One of the largest cancer charities, the American Cancer Society, only directs one cent (yes, a penny) of every dollar to childhood cancer research. Yet, bald children are routinely displayed in their advertising.
Our children need a cure.
This month, Yoke will introduce you to the faces of childhood cancer; children who are battling, who battled, who survived and those who died at the hands of cancer. You will also meet the charities and organizations that are dedicated to one thing: Curing childhood cancer.
This September be aware: not just that cancer exists, but that it is active, it is alive and it is a enemy that we can defeat together. Many of you know of my charities of choice, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation and Friends of Jaclyn. But, there are other charities working towards a cure and working toward alleviating suffering.
This September, go gold.
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