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Donna Day

Childhood cancer is nothing new to my blog. Dangit. I wish I didn’t have a whole section on it. But worse, the parents who have lost their own children to it, wish they didn’t belong to that club.

Donna is Mary Tyler Mom’s daughter, who was diagnosed in 2007 with an aggressive brain tumor. She passed away in 2009. A hard fought 31 months. Yes that is Donna in the picture above. She was only 20 months old when she was diagnosis.

You can read Donna’s story that was featured on Huffington Post in September here- http://www.chicagonow.com/mary-tyler-mom/2011/08/gold-is-the-new-pink/.

Okay, why am I writing about Donna Day?

St. Baldrick’s foundation, was formed in 1999 by a group of insurance executives.  Since that time they have granted over $100 million to researchers trying to find a cure for childhood cancer.  They are the largest funder for this outside the US government.  Their charity ratings are great and best yet, there is a focus on SHARING research.  So important for kids in small towns across America.

St. Baldrick’s is known for their events where folks shave their heads. My brother did it ages ago. In Chicago actually, and he’ll never forget it was the Miss Illinois at the time who actually did the shaving. It never grew back. Just kidding. Sort of.

So here is where I’m asking for your help. Okay, your money. Let’s be honest. Research comes down to money. Why is research important? Here are the staggering statistics:

  • More US children will die from cancer than any other disease, or many other diseases combined;
  • Before the age of 20, 1 in 300 boys and 1 in 333 girls will be diagnosed with cancer;
  • worldwide, a child is diagnosed ever three minutes;
  • the cure rate for the most common form of pediatric cancer, ALL leukemia, is as high as 90%, but most other childhood cancers do not have that success rate, e.g., brain tumors have a 50/50 cure rate, and some, like DIPG, are known to be fatal with no known treatment or cure;
  • 73% of kids who survive their cancer will have chronic health problems as a result of their treatment and 42% will suffer severe or life-threatening conditions like secondary cancers.

If the internet is good for anything, along with social media and the blogosphere, it’s reaching out and passing the proverbial collection plate. Right?

So here’s what you do- go to this link- http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/6969/2013 and click on the GREEN donate button. Give your coffee money for the week, or more if you can. It’s pretty easy.

An 89 year old grandma is shaving her head at the event! Wow! Kinda makes me want to join in too. Hmm….

So there’s your assignment.

Go do it for Donna.

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

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