Thursday, September 03, 2009

Ten for Ten

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

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.

Twenty percent.

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 can.

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.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Kendrie and MANY happy, healthy more!

Meg from Ga

Mrs. Flamingo said...

I*heart* you!


Kelly said...

Just donated to the cure in honor of Kendrie!

vgsmom said...

Done! Happy Birthday, Kendrie!

Trish in Leesburg, VA said...

Happy Birthday Kendrie! You've come a long way in the years I have been following your story.

karen said...

Happy belated bday Kendrie you rock girl..

Kristie can I steal some of this post for my fb page??

Love Being a Nonny said...

Will do! Happy Birthday to your girl!

Anonymous said...

Done. Happy Birthday Kendrie. I'm looking forward to the camo prom dress in 5 or 6 years!

Vickie from CA

Anonymous said...


Happy birthday, Kendrie!!!

Mary Z

Jacqueline said...

Happy birthday, Kendrie!

momof2Boys said...

Happy Birthday Kendrie!

cakeburnette said...

done! Happy happy birthday!

Jennifer in CA said...

Done! Happy Birthday Kendrie!!!!!!

sportzmom said...

Happy Birthday Kendrie! I donated in your honor today!

Melissa in CA said...

Happy Birthday Kendrie!

I have followed the Caringbridge site through it all & you are a huge inspiration! Thank you Kristie for opening up your heart & family to all of us - you've given me plenty of laughs & tears through it all.

My $10 is on its way.

leeanne said...

I just donated in your honor Kendrie! Happy 10th Birthday sweetie!

Laura said...

We just gave our money to the AFLAC cancer center when they had the WSB AM750 fundraiser but we can spare more for Cure Childhood Cancer. Thank you for posting this and I am going to send it to everyone I know. Now off to find a tissue.

Anonymous said...

She is growing up so fast! Happy Birthday sweet Kendrie!
Joann in AL

René S said...

Thanks for the reminder. I'm going to blog about it and give 10 for 10 -- as soon as I go find my CC.

I NEVER would have known that saying "I've been blessed with __# healthy children" could be hurtful! It's amazing how perspective affects so much of what we say. To me, it would have been a humble acknowledgement of my luck and not at all a reflection on others who were not so lucky. In fact, I think having followed so many children with cancer over the years since discoveing CaringBridge, I've become so much more aware of how lucky and what a blessing it is to be fighting about whether or not my 10 year old will put away his clothes or do his homework or fight with his sister or whatever. It's a much better fight than the one against cancer! Thanks for sharing that. I really would never have known that might hurt others!

Jay and Emily said...

I found you when Kendrie was sick and have followed you ever since. What a wonerful and blessed day. Happy Birthday Kendrie!! You have someone in Michigan that cares for you and your family very much.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Kendrie I hope there are so many more to follow.

I always thought I was lucky to be blessed with two healthy children until cancer decided to change all that. After a 13 month battle my son went to join his heavenly father. Now I know I was just blessed to be the mother to two wonderful children. My donation is sent.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Kendrie! I put a link to this post on my FB...

- Julie (Fla/Easton's mom)

Bree said...

Happy Birthday Kendrie!!

Wonderful post! I'll be linking & donating :o)

Stephanie G said...

Thanks for letting us know about CURE. I mailed them a check today.
Happy 10th birthday Kendrie!

Moore, OK

Melissa said...

Thanks for making us aware of this. I sent in my 'ten for ten!'

Anonymous said...

I sent in $10 for 10 years! Happy Birthday, Kendrie!!

Anonymous said...

Done! Happy Birthday Kendrie!

Postcard Cindy

Anonymous said...

Belated Happy Birthday, Kendrie! :) Hope that you had a wonderful day! I think that I started following Kendrie's Caringbridge page in late 2005 as she was coming off treatment.


Anonymous said...

awwwe Kristie you have me crying at work!!! Wonderful post -- very well written! I'm donating the 10 for Kendrie and another 14 for Josh and I think I'll have to use your idea on his birthday!


Jenner said...

Happy Birthday Kendrie!!

Christine said...

Longtime reader/lurker coming out of the shadows to say.


Happy 10th Birthday Kendrie!!

Christine in PA

Tiffany said...


Happy Birthday Kendrie!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Kristie....for the information and the motivation. As soon as I say Happy Birthday to Kendrie, I will be on my way to leave a donation.


Natalie said...

Well said, girlfriend.

Happy Birthday, Kendrie!!!!!

Mad Woman said...

Oh m' got me all teary. Many many many happy birthday wishes to Kendrie. She's fought a hard battle and come through on the other side and that's awesome!

I'll be doing a post about Childhood Cancer Research later this week...and I'll donate some to the cause as well.

Thank yoU!!

Mom2Toribug said...

I sure will! Happy Birthday Kendrie. What a great way to celebrate your birthday and all for a good cause too.

Stacy said...

Kristie -

I've followed your blog (or Caringbridge page) since Kendrie was originally diagnosed - I came your way vs. Haley Vincent. And, through you, I became attached to many of other "cancer kids" that were part of that 20%. Cancer sucks. We'll make that donation to CURE.

Happy birthday, Kendrie!

Anonymous said...

The photo of Kendrie celebrating her 10th Birthday brought tears of happiness to my eyes. Happy sweet 10th Birthday Kendrie! In Karina’s last CB update I wrote about the “luck” factor too but you explained it so well in your writing. I’m embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t heard of the Cure Childhood Cancer organization until today but I’m so glad you wrote about it. I just donated in honor of Kendrie and along with CureSearch I will donate yearly to them:)

Linda, Karina’s Mom.

A Mom said...

Just donated!! Happy Birthday Kendrie!

Sandy P said...

11 alive in Atlanta did several pieces this week on Cure and kids with cancer. I bet you can find them if you go to their website.

Happy birthday Kendrie. Glad you make it to 10!

Random said...

Honestly, I did not donate. But I thought you would appreciate the reason why, so I checked in with a comment anyway.
I am a graduate student (and about twenty thousand dollars in debt, which explains the lack of a tenner) studying treatments for rare childhood cancers. This doesn't include ALL, unfortunately, but it does include a large chunk of that 20% you were talking about.
I strongly support CURE, and I will donate when I have the ability. But in the meantime, I wanted to say that I am doing my best to make my own contribution. Thanks for promoting this organization.

Anonymous said...

Happy 10th Birthday Kendrie!
Thanks for once again bringing childhood cancer to light, Kristie.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Kendrie. I hope you had a great day. And you totally have to take us to that restaraunt to make smores when we come to visit! How cool is that?!xoxoThe Warcholiks

p.s. your hair is awesome!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, beautiful Kendrie. I'm grateful that you are celebrating another birthday. Give your parents lots of hugs, and tell your daddy that he is a hero of mine. You all have been in my prayers for many years now, and will remain there.

Karen B.

gorillabuns said...

yep, this pretty much depressed me. mainly because, well, you know why.

Happy Birthday Kendrie! You are one special person who is loved by many.

Marie said...

Happy Birthday, Kendrie!

Here's hoping one day it's not 4 out of 5 that survive and thrive, but 5 out of 5.

hyzymom said...

Hurrah for Kendrie!
What a beautiful and simple way to get people to donate... 10 for 10! I love it. $10... in this day that's about 2 starbucks. Drink coffee at home for 2 days and support a great organization. Hope Kendrie had a great birthday. Wish we all lived closer...probably more for me that you... I think you all have a lot more fun that we do. :o)

Eloise said...

Happy Birthday, Kendrie!

Thank you, Kristie, for letting me know about CURE. What a worthy organization.

An well-meaning expression that bothers me is "There but for the grace of God go I." Does that mean that God's grace somehow skipped the family of a child with cancer?

Love to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Done. Kristie I think that was the most compelling request for a donation that I've read in a long time. You have me in tears here at work.

Happy Birthday Kendrie!


Jessica in GA said...

I just made my donation in honor of Kendrie. Happy Birthday and heres to many more!

Anne Marie said...

I donated! Happy birthday to Kendrie! Double digits!

Keri said...

done. . .

Happy Birthday Kendrie

Renee said...

Only took a second - great idea!!

Happy Birthday, Kendrie!

Rene W. said...


Happy Birthday Kendrie - You are most amazing!

AND s'mores for your birthday Rock!

Bobo said...

Bobo will be donating immediately. Happy 10th. Love, Bobo

Alisa said...

I love your 10 for 10!
This is awesome- Happy Birthday Kendrie!

Pam D said...

Happy Birthday, Kendrie, and here's to many, many more. For you AND all the other kids out there who have woken or will one day "wake up with" cancer.
We miss Tyler.

jadine said...

Happy Birthday from Texas, 10-year-old girl!

~Jadine, Richard, Stone and Mason

Libby said...

Happy Birthday, Kendrie!

You rock!

Hope you're birthday was a really special one!

Lea White said...

What a great post! We are about to finish Bianca's leukemia treatment. Officially finishing 11 September 2009. Never counted how many pills she's taken, I should have, would have been interesting to see, I also in hindsight thought I should have written down how many hours we ended up waiting for stuff - waiting to see the doctor, waiting to get blood test results, waiting to get counts up enough for chemo. We have been collecting beads of courage though for every day of chemo, every x-ray, every poke, blood product transfusion and so on and by next Friday Bianca will have 1,314 or 1,315 beads all together. Of course that does not include the number of days on steroids (I wish there was a bead for that). And at the end of it all, I plan to make this photo collage including 830 paua shell pieces which will represent the number of days since diagnosis.

Kendrie gives people like us hope, thank you! Oh and happy birthday Kendrie, 10 is a great number!!!

Anonymous said...

As a mother of a child born with congenital heart defects and subsequent open heart surgery, and he lives "fixed" not cured and still has something that needs to be "fixed" later in life, I can tell you we battle with the AHA and how much goes to CHD research. Im hoping you dont delete my post, I just want you to know we have different causes, but the same goal.To save our children. Did you know CHD is the #1 birth defect? And the #1 congenital death in infants?
Our family thought we had our miracle in Tanner. And then our beautiful neice Rebecca was diagnosed with ALL-T. I remember emailing you some 4+ years ago. Rebecca still struggles. She has terrible nerve damage, we wont know all the damage until she continues to grow. Im telling you, both CHD and cancer are as you so eloquently wrote, "A crap sandwich". I will donate 10 for 10.
It is wonderful to have watched Kendrie grow over the years and see her on the other side of the nightmare.
God Bless

Andee said...

Done - I hope that Kendrie had a wonderful birthday!

..::Mrs. Staff Sergeant::.. said...

Happy birthday Kendrie!

My son was diagnosed with kidney cancer when he was 2 years old. Would you allow me to swipe this post, edited for my readers, to encourage them to donate as well?