September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time to honor and remember children and families affected by these rare diseases, and help rally support to give kids with cancer better outcomes by supporting groundbreaking research. The causes of pediatric cancer are still largely unknown, and though new discoveries are resulting in new treatments, this heartbreaking disease continues to scar families and communities in ways that may never fully heal.
This acknowledgement of a problem means more than beautiful photos of smiling bald children, because if you know cancer, it is nothing to smile about.
In the U.S., 15,780 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year; approximately 1/4 of them will not survive the disease. During the month of September alone 25,000 families around the world will get the horrible news that their child or teen has cancer and 6,667 families will experience the loss of a child.
This article is supposed to inform you why Childhood Cancer Awareness month is important. Shouldn't it be obvious though?
You would think so, but so many people don't even know about childhood cancer, to begin with. A lot of the times you won't know about it until it directly affects you or someone you know.
In September of 2011 my family was one of those 25,000 that got the horrible news. Although I have been in remission for almost 5 years now, my fight is still far from over. According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, almost three-quarters of survivors experience “late effects” such as heart damage, secondary cancers, lung damage, infertility, cognitive impairment, growth deficits, hearing loss and more that require monitoring for their entire lives. This is something I will have to worry about my whole life, all related to childhood cancer. However, instead of focusing on this I focus my energy on how I can help others learn. I am blessed and grateful to have the title of a survivor, now it's my job to advocate!
You may be wondering "How can I help now that I know?" You can help in many ways. Spread the word! Make others aware of childhood cancer. If you want to, and are able to donate, then do it! By funding research, you are giving every child hope for a cure. I will continue to fight and advocate for those who can not do it for themselves. I choose to be a voice for our children, you should too.