September is childhood
cancer awareness month. This is a time
to remember the children we have lost, celebrate survivors, raise money for
research, support families facing childhood cancer and fight back.
No kid should every have to endure the pain and suffering of cancer. No parent should every have to lose a child to cancer, but every three minutes a parent hears, your child has cancer. Matter of fact, nearly 50 children a day is diagnosed with cancer and every four hours a child dies of cancer.
Cancer statistics for children are staggering. One in every 330 children will develop cancer before 19 years old. In fact, cancer is the number one cause of death in children under the age of 15 years old, yet pediatric AIDS receives four times the funding.
Cancer also kills more children than AIDS, asthma, diabetes or cystic fibrosis put together. Did you know nearly 4,000 children and teenagers will die from cancer every year? The National Cancer Institute allocates less than 5 percent of its annual budget for childhood cancer research.
If it was breast cancer awareness month, you would notice it immediately by the pink ribbons. More than likely you don’t even know that there is a ribbon for childhood cancer. You haven’t seen any ribbons? Look for gold ones.
With adult cancers we know lifestyle choices can cause cancer, but with pediatric cancers the causes are largely unknown. No new treatments for the rare, deadliest cancers have been introduced in more than three decades. Plus there has only been one new drug approved for pediatric use in the past two decades.
Families facing cancer have their lives and hearts ripped apart. The five year survival rate is 80%, but kids who survive will have an ongoing chronic illness from the repercussions of the drugs, chemo’s, ivs, etc.
Oftentimes it only takes a small child to open our eyes. Recently, we saluted a courageous teenager, Talia Castellano, Honorary Cover Girl, who lost her six year battle to neuroblastoma. Through her journey many of us became more aware of childhood cancers.
Other children who bravely fought, lost their lives and have inspired thousands around the world to support children fighting cancer are Jessie Joy Rees (NEGU, Joy Jars, www.negu.org), Alexandra Scott, (www.alexslemonade.org) and Hudson Wyss, (www.soccerforhope.org).
In Orange County, hundreds of families a year are overwhelmed by the emotional, financial, medical and social hardships that cancer inflicts. No family has to face cancer alone!
There are many organizations in Orange County that can assist families. Some of them are the Orange County Foundation for Oncology Children and Families (OCF-OCF), the American Cancer Society (ACS, Santa Ana), the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (Irvine) and Soccer for Hope, (Laguna Hills).
Remember, if you don't ask for help, we don’t know you need help. Most people want to help and they love to feel needed. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, sister, brother or other; we'd love to hear your story. It is priceless to us. If you need help in telling your story please contact Margot Ferron, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life can change in the blink of an eye. Hug your loved ones, tell them you love them and embrace hope and faith.
If you want to Fight Back against cancer you can join Relay for Life/ Mission Viejo, go to MVRELAY.org, form a team or join a team. You are invited to join Relay for Life Planning Committee on Thurs., Sept. 19, 2013 from 6:30 to 8 pm at Norman P. Murray, 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA 92691.
Learn more about committee positions and help us set goals for the new year. For more information, contact Kat Minotta, Event Chair at email@example.com, 714/617-0899 or Margot Ferron at 949/ 309-1235.
We look forward to seeing you there. It would be a better world with fewer cancer and more birthdays!