Every three minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer. One in five children diagnosed with cancer in the US and Canada will not survive. For those who do, they still have much to overcome. Two out of three survivors live with chronic health problems that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

It doesn’t have to be this way; we all have the power to change these statistics. Every day, there are scientists working hard to find cures and ways of early detection and prevention.

The St. Baldrick’s foundation raises money by shaving people’s heads and invests it in the most promising childhood cancer research. I’ve decided to take part in an event coming up on April 3 to get my head shaved. I couldn’t be more excited!

While my family has been fortunate enough not to have any children diagnosed with cancer, we have still all been affected.

During my time in high school, five of my peers were diagnosed with cancer. It was heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time. I couldn’t believe that kids my age would be fighting for their lives. They were young adults; they weren’t supposed to be focused on anything besides living a normal teenage life. But cancer doesn’t care about that. It was an unreal experience watching my school community, usually very divided, come together to raise money and show support to the students and families affected. Unfortunately, not all five of my peers who were diagnosed survived. A family very close to my heart lost a son, a brother, a grandson.

This is for him and his family. This is for all the children that I’ve worked with as a music therapy student who have lost the fight for their lives. This is for all the children still fighting or who have overcome the cancer demon. This is for all the children in the future who will be diagnosed. And this is for the day when we don’t have to be scared of the word cancer anymore, because we will have found cures and preventative measures.

We will only overcome childhood cancer if we work together.

Only four percent of federal funding is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research. There is a huge funding gap between childhood cancer research and adult cancer research. More adults than children are diagnosed with cancer. However, the average age of cancer diagnosis for adults is 67. For kids? It’s six.

At six years old, kids should be learning how to spell the word hospital, not spending the majority of their time in one. Cancer is scary at any age, but at the age of six, when you are learning about compound words and addition, it’s terrifying.

We can make cancer a less scary word if we all work together. It’s tough donating money or hair, shaving your head, or even bringing awareness to this topic. Childhood cancer is hard to talk about, but we need to do it. We need to do what we can so that children don’t have to fight for their lives. We should do what we can so that children and young adults don’t have to worry about the time spent in a hospital instead of school, or any of the other horrible things that come with a cancer diagnosis. We should do what we can because it’s the right thing to do.

So I’m shaving my head, have donated money, and am raising awareness about the need for funding i childhood cancer research.

What will you do?

Please take a moment to check out my participant page and consider donating to this cause.