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RTLF #14 – week 1- Cancer effing sucks

This is a repost from Friday- Gmail is being sneaky and sending emails to folk’s spam folders if they have ’causes’ in the subject. Hoping if you didn’t get this on Friday- you will today. Or if you did get it, you don’t mind seeing it again. Thanks!

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

“cancer is still the second leading cause of death in children younger than 15 years old (after accidents). About 1,340 children are expected to die from cancer in 2012.” (American Cancer Society) Does that not scare the shit out of you?? It does me.

How many people do you know who have or have had cancer? How many children do you know who have or have had cancer?

Sadly, my answer is 3. I know personally, 3 children that have had cancer. Two of them passed away. One of them is thriving today.

The way it comes into their lives and moves in like a horrible house guest, turns lives upside down.

I hope you’ve been reading Donna’s storyMary Tyler Mom is a writer the Huffington Post is featuring all this month. Her daughter, Donna, passed away in 2009 from a brain tumor. Thirty-one entries of what that family went through. We’re on day 7 today. I’m on the edge of my seat when I read it, barely breathing, thinking of what they endured.

My friend Christin’s son Kyle, passed away of a brain tumor in 2009. He battled for more than 2 years. He made it to his 8th birthday, and then slipped away soon after. Kyle defied all statistics. Most kids battling his kind of tumor only last a year, maybe 18 months. He lasted longer. Kyle was one of those kids you don’t forget about. We honor him every year in the Run of Hope in Seattle through Children’s Hospital. And we remember his birthday on January 17th as ice cream day. You are allowed to give your kids, and yourself, ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Because Kyle was smart that way. He knew how to live to the fullest, even if that meant dessert first!

This is the video they played at Kyle’s memorial that a friend of the family put together. I watched it recently and after 3 years, it still brings me to sobs. Please watch, but be ready with kleenex. http://vimeo.com/3262788 (copy and past the URL in your browser, or go to Kyle’s blog I have linked below.)

My friends the Shah’s daughter, Siona, passed away New Year’s Day, 2011 after her battle with leukemia. She was 6. 6 years old. She hadn’t even had a chance to go to Kindergarten. She was diagnosed soon after she turned 4 and those 2 years were spent battling for her life. They thought she had the ‘good’ kind of leukemia. The kind where kids recover and bounce back. When the cancer returned during the spring of 2010, we were in shock and disbelief. Within a year she was gone. Even after a valiant effort at St. Jude’s.  Siona wanted to have Christmas. Her doctors told her family to move it up on the calendar. They kept it on the 25th like it is. And she enjoyed every part of that Christmas.

My friends the Lefkows found out about their daughter, Ashely’s leukemia in 2009. She had the ‘good’ kind too. Thankful for them, she is a thriving 1st grader who was on the swim team this summer and loves building Legos with her brother and dressing up with her girlfriends. I wrote about the Lefkow’s journey here, and how glad we were when she finished her treatment in December.

I will have each mom (Kyle’s, Ashley’s, and Siona’s) write a piece for my blog this month so you can read their words. Unless you’ve lived it, you can’t imagine it.

We need to spread the word. A statistic says that in the past 20 years, only one new cancer drug has been improved for pediatric cancer. This is unacceptable!!

I won’t make this political, but for example, wouldn’t the billions of dollars being spent on this year’s campaigns be better used for cures and research? Makes me sick!

I wish I could say that I won’t know any more children who will have cancer. I won’t know any more families who have to go through this. Dear God, not mine! Right? Isn’t that what you’re thinking? It could be anyone. We can’t put a bike helmet on or knee pads to prevent it. We can’t keep our kids from junk food or too much TV, or buckle them in any safer in their car seat or have them take their cell phone going to their friend’s house. It just happens. Cancer just happens.

So share, spread, speak. We need to save our children.

For Donna, Kyle, Siona and Ashley, and many, many more.

Donna’s Cancer Story- read here

Kyle’s Blog- read here

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Comments

  1. I read Mary Tyler Mom’s blog last year when it was reposted by MWDAS. I sat down one night and read it end to end and bawled my head off. I can’t believe the statistic about pediatric cancer drugs – how disheartening and annoying!

  2. I shudder to think that that many children lost their lives due cancer in just a single year. It is hard to imagine the number of lives that this has affected, how many people are now struggling to just get out of the bed in the morning, knowing that there beloved little one is no longer with them. While maybe not the same as losing a child, my grandfather succumbed to cancer when I was a little boy (he was 65). I can still remember visiting him in the hospital during his final year. There isn’t a day that passes when my mother doesn’t still think of him, of what a great influence he would have been on me and my siblings lives growing up. Cancer effing sucks…..