Once upon a time, in a land far, far away .... (well, ok, central Georgia) there lived a fair princess with her family.
She was pretty stinking cute.
A few weeks after this photo was taken, the princess woke up one morning, and she had cancer.
That pretty much sucked.
What followed for this young girl and her family was two+plus years of chemotherapy treatments, all of which have been chronicled on this site. Here is a brief summarization of a few of the numbers of her treatment, as taken from the journal entry written about her off-treatment party:
"A few other fun things we did: I filled a jar with M&Ms to represent the number of chemo pills Kendrie took during treatment, then we let everyone take a guess and gave the jar to the person who guessed closest: The winner: (no cheating involved, I swear) my nephew Dalton …. the actual number of pills: 2121.
We also posted a few questions to see who might know the answers (it was funny to me that the other ALL mom at the party said to me, “You know, those questions were pretty easy” --- for her, I’m sure they were, ha!)
1. Number of ambulance rides Kendrie has taken: Two.
2. Number of days she has been inpatient during treatment: Twenty-five.
3. Number of times she has been stuck in the chest, arm, or leg, for flu shots, peg shots, arac shots, blood draws, or chemo: 115.
4. Number of blood transfusions she has received during treatment: Eight.
5. Her preventative antibiotic, Bactrim, she takes in a liquid form. How much has she taken over the past twenty-six months? Three and a half gallons."
Why am I telling you all this today? Two reasons ...... One, did you know September 12th is Childhood Cancer Awareness Day, and that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? No? You didn't? Yeah, sadly, most people don't.
Here are a few facts, taken from the internet,which will hopefully help enlighten you:
Following is some information on childhood cancer in the US:
1. In the Citizen's Briefing book presented to President Obama upon his inauguration, childhood cancer was voted by the American people as the #5 Health Care issue. See Page 16 http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/Citizens_Briefing_Book_Final
2. Cancer is the #1 cause of death by disease for children, killing more than asthma, diabetes, pediatric AIDS, congenital anomoalies, and cystic fibrosis combined.
3. 46 children are diagnosed with cancer every day in the US.
4. Each year, 3000 children die of cancer in the US. 1 in 5 Children with cancer will die.
5. Every year, 35-40,000 children are in treatment for cancer.
6. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Most people have never heard of this.
7. Less than 3% of all cancer research money goes to childhood cancer.
The one I love (which of course in this case, clearly means HATE) is that one in five children diagnosed with cancer will die. That's 20%. While I'm so thankful that number is much lower than it used to be, it is still unacceptably high.
Think about your child's class at school. I'm guessing around 20 kids, right? Now imagine the principal told you four of those children, picked at random, would be dead by the end of the school year, just for showing up to class.
Would you send your kid to school?
Think about your child's football, or baseball, or soccer team. Ten or fifteen kids, right? Imagine three of them will be killed on the court or on the field this fall. Would you let your child play?
I'm always amazed (and dumbfounded, and really pissed off, if you want the truth of it) when I hear someone say, "I'm so lucky .... I've been blessed with (insert number here) healthy children and I count my blessings every day."
Guess what? I was blessed with three healthy kids, too.
Until one of them woke up one morning with cancer.
Don't think it can't happen to you.
It does every freaking day for forty-six families in this country alone.
And reason #2 I'm telling you all this?
Because the beautiful princess we talked about in the beginning of this story???
She turned TEN yesterday.
Thanks to advances in pediatric cancer treatment, and a whole lotta LUCK, she wasn't one in five.
I mention luck to put something else in perspective ..... the 20% of kids that DON'T beat cancer???? Yeah, guess what ---- their parents loved them, too, just like I love Kendrie, just like you love your kids. Their parents followed doctor directions, and had faith, and said prayers, and did everything they were supposed to do, too. Sometimes, whether people want to believe it or not, cancer beats us. Not because we didn't wish it hard enough, or fight hard enough, or pray hard enough, or believe hard enough ............ but because the luck wasn't there. Nothing more.
Geez, that's freaking depressing.
While there's nothing we can do about luck, there is something we can do to help ensure it isn't a big factor anymore ----
Donate to childhood cancer research.
CHILDHOOD cancer research.
The best organization I know for this is CURE Childhood Cancer. I know the director of this foundation personally ..... her son is a pediatric cancer survivor. They are doing their best to help fund research for PEDIATRIC cancers, something the American Cancer Society does very little of. (And I'm not typing that to open up a firestorm of research donation statistical mud-slinging .... type any comment regarding that and it will be deleted from this site, I promise you .....)
A few facts about CURE, taken from their website:
"What exactly does CURE fund?
Research into the development of “targeted therapies” – that focus only cancer cells and do not harm surrounding healthy cells. Targeted therapies are critical to ensuring that patients are spared the devastating and often life-threatening “late effects” caused by current conventional therapies
Basic and clinical research
Training of future pediatric oncologists and researchers through the fellowship program at Emory University School of Medicine
Emergency financial assistance for families stricken by childhood cancer
Professional development and continuing education efforts for nurses, family support team members, and others caring for children with cancer
Innovative programs that address the critical and urgent needs of patients and their families, such as meals to inpatient families, outreach at the time of diagnosis, and bereavement support"
So here's what I'm asking you to do....
Please, in honor of Kendrie donate ten for ten.
Ten dollars in celebration of the fact she turned 10 years old yesterday.
I don't advertise on this site .... I've never tried to sell anything. Occasionally I will highlight fundraisers that I think are worthwhile.
Today, I am asking you to donate ten for ten, and to make a difference.
Because every child deserves to cook s'mores at a restaurant for their birthday:
Every child deserves to make a wish for the upcoming year ..... to HAVE an upcoming year ....
Please, go to CURE Childood Cancer and donate, in honor of Kendrie, in awareness of Childhood Cancer Month, and in preparation for the forty-six kids who will be diagnosed TODAY.