I wrote this blog entry on Tuesday for the Heroes for Children blog to start the first day of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I've been meaning to post it here. I'm very emotionally exhausted after a long week at work and learning of several of our favorite children relapsing. One is in very severe condition and they do not know how much longer sweet Caden has. My heart is heavy for his family. I thought this blog post was appropriate for tonight...
It's the first day of September. The first day of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The gold ribbon, a symbol of awareness of what these children fight, should be found everywhere. It's not. Unfortunately, there are still too many people out there who are unaware of childhood cancer. It's a scary topic for many. I understand this. I was one of the people who shied away from the topic. That is, until my daughter was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
I quickly learned more about childhood cancer. More than I ever wanted to know. I learned the parts of the blood, about chemotherapy, and blood transfusions. I learned how to quickly jump up when my baby was throwing up and how to respond to her different cries of pain. I learned heartache.
But I learned so much more than that too. I learned about love--both the love of my child and my husband, the love of my incredible family, but even the love of strangers. I learned of strength. My daughter was incredibly strong, enduring so much in her little body that most adults would struggle with. I saw strength in nurses and doctors as they went through their daily work to help the children, comfort the parents, and find a cure to this disease. I saw other children going through cancer treatment having races with their IV poles down the hallway. The strength and courage of these children is a constant inspiration of my life.
I learned about mothers. The kind of mothers who have aching backs from sleeping on ICU chairs to be at their child's bedside and who didn't complain. Mothers who fight valiantly alongside their child, responding quickly to their needs. Mothers, like my co-founder and friend, Larissa, who not only had a child with cancer but juggled the demands of providing and loving the other children at home.
Finally, I learned that cancer cannot defeat a child's spirit. Though a child can be riddled with cancer, it doesn't mean he/she will stop being a child. A child wants to play, laugh, love, giggle, be goofy, scream, throw tantrums, etc whether cancer is present or not. Cancer kids are just simply KIDS. They are sweet kids who want the business of cancer to be done and the business of being a kid to continue.
This month, I challenge you to learn a little about childhood cancer. You don't need first hand knowledge like me to get a deeper understanding. You can visit organizations like Heroes for Children. Research online and get involved in your community. Attend an event that supports families and the battles with childhood cancer, such as our upcoming Heroes for Children 5K Run/Walk. You can make a difference this month during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Please consider making a donation in support of these families. Even something as simple as placing a gold ribbon on your email signature with a line about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and a link would help direct people's attention to this important topic.
Throughout this month, we will be blogging about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Keep up with us for more information about childhood cancer and what Heroes for Children does to alleviate some of the burden families face.