Childhood cancer awareness month started the 1st of September and as many may or may not know children affected by cancer, it surrounds many families lives. To make this a little more realistic I am going to tell you my personal story about childhood cancer. In 8th grade, on April 20th I had found out my 15 year old sister was diagnosed with Stage IV Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. For one year she did 80 days in the hospital, 12 chemo medicines, 10 spinal taps, 9 rounds of chemo, 7 blood transfusions, 4 PICC lines, 3 bone marrow biopsies, 3 ambulance rides to UCSF, and 1 double port. So here are a few things why I believe childhood cancer awareness is more than a simple phrase in a word.
1. I am blessed to have my sister here on earth, but for some they reach heaven a little sooner. "Before they turn 20, about 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will have cancer."
2. The love and support my friends and family gave us really made us grateful for the community we live in. "On average the price for one year of life increased to $139,100 in 2005 and $207,000 in 2013." Someone not so lucky to live in a community overwhelmingly helpful might not have enough money to ensure their child's life.
3. Cancer brought us our biggest gift: Rooms of Hope. This is a non profit dedicated to making dream rooms for children with life-threatening illnesses. Being a family who understands struggles of a child with a life-threatening illness, we knew giving back was what we were meant to do. And although not all kids were able to fight these horrible diseases, they were allowed to peacefully go in the sanctuary of their home. "Childhood Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the U.S."
4. No matter what, my sister was a fighter. The chemo wouldn't let her down at any time. There were some good days and bad, but the good overrode the bad. "Others between the ages of 0-18 could have bad day symptoms like: Fatigue, Pain, Mouth and throat sores, Diarrhea, Nausea and vomiting, Constipation, Blood disorders, Nervous system effects." These children didn't just have a cold, they had a sickness that destroys their immune system.
5. Growing up as a sibling of a child with cancer, some days it felt lonely, but almost all the time my parents made sure that I was always loved at every moment. "Some siblings didn't get that same outcome and studies examining PTS reactions in siblings conclude that 29–38% exhibit moderate to severe cancer-related posttraumatic stress even years after cancer treatment has ended."
6. Even though my sister might've not looked like the typical teenager, the amount of love and gratitude for her inner and outer beauty was always there. "While some children went to school only to be ridiculed of being just a little different."