Summer is coming to an end and fall is right around the corner. When the months change from August to September our minds usually wander to the thoughts of falling autumn leaves and pumpkin spice, but in the time that it took you to daydream of those 2 things did you know that at least one child was diagnosed with cancer? Did you also know that only 4 percent of government national funding would go towards backing research and treatments for these tiny and innocent humans? Childhood cancer is a somber topic; one that many would rather go without talking about, but the disease that is cancer is not shy, so why should we be?
It blows my mind that little and fragile children are fighting non-stop, 24/7 for their lives against cancer, yet it is obvious that our nation isn’t fighting half as hard for them. Sure they are smaller in size, but does that really mean they only deserve 4 percent of funding over the 96 percent that adult cancers receive each year. It is time that we all realize that these kids are worth so much more.
It feels as if every single day I am scrolling through Facebook and hear the news of yet another child being diagnosed with a form of this gruesome disease. It is reckless, it is destructive, and it is not slowing down until we find a way to catch up. On average, 71 years of life are lost when a child dies from cancer, that is 71 years of growth and unimaginable potential completely gone, and if that just breaks your heart think of the hearts of the mothers, fathers, friends, and family of these kids. The agony and pain of burying your own child is something I believe no parent should ever have to endure. And maybe, if more awareness and urgency were raised for this disease not so many would have to.
No one is asking you to go out tomorrow and develop a cure for pediatric cancer (although that would be wonderful). All you need to do is hold these facts in your mind and your heart, and be open to sharing them with others who may not know these shocking statistics. Educate yourself and your peers, share stories with them, and donate money whenever you can. Awareness leads to funding, which in turn leads to more research and then eventually to more treatments that could potentially save the lives of so many kids who will be faced with this disease before they turn 18.
Aside from federal funding individual donations can help tremendously, although they can only go so far, which is why the 4 percent must be increased dramatically in the very near future. No single person can tackle this issue alone, but together as a united force we can show these children that they really are worth so much more than a mere 4 percent. They are worth the world, and that’s what they should receive. They deserve time and the opportunity to explore, discover, and experience the world without the threat of it being taken away from them. As children with cancer, they are constantly fighting for their lives, and they need us to help fight for the horrifically large gap of funding and awareness to be raised to the level they so greatly need.
September is here and it is time for us all to Go Gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness. Let’s make it a National Priority.