are a long time follower have been following Life as Leels since September-ish, you know that I am a big supporter when it comes to childhood cancer. All during September 2013 (Childhood Cancer Awareness month) I shared on the blog about childhood cancer, stories, and ways to help.
This morning, while going through my Facebook news feed, one of my favorite pages – The Crumb Diaries – shared about Donna Day with the words “pedatric cancer” in the same sentence.
I had to know more.
The Crumb Diaries shared two links – Donna Day 2014: A Tale of Two Cities and Donna Day 2014.
My first stop was the first link and it made my heart hurt.
I did not know Donna. I did not know Donna’s story. But to read another’s passion and share the words that I have tried to share; the reason behind my passion for childhood cancer:
The reason Donna Day exists, the reason I write about Donna and feature stories of childhood cancer is because that town of Cancerville is full of children and families whose lives are unimaginable to the average person in Healthy Town. It’s population grows by 46 every single school day. Yes, it’s getting crowded up here in Cancerville, cause once you move here, you never leave.
Funding for pediatric cancer research is abyssmal. Roughly 4% of the cancer budget of the National Institutes of Health is devoted to childhood cancers. A new medication, specific to childhood cancer, has not hit the market in over twenty years. Our crazy dysfunctional government actually passed legislation called the Creating Hope Act in 2011 to incentivize pharmaceutical companies to focus much needed resources specific to childhood cancer. Nothing has come of it because there is no money to be made. Not enough children get cancer for it to turn a profit for pharma to invest in, despite it being the number one disease killer of all children in America.
It makes me sick.
I concur. It really is sickening.
In fact, last September my husband mentioned at work how passionate I am about childhood cancer and one of his co-workers had the gall to say that children are resilient and that childhood cancer isn’t such a big deal.
Is she for real!?
Do you realize that children going through chemotherapy are going through the same chemotherapy an adult would? Targeted therapies target the adult market and the “cure” is more likely to kill kids than adults.
Let me put it in simple terms for you. As an adult, you may take two 500mg Tylenol for a headache. Would you give that same dose to your 1 year old? How about your 5 year old? No? Why not?
The answer? It is toxic to a little body of a child. Yet we expect a child with cancer to receive the same treatment, chemotherapy, radiation, etc. as an adult.
Cancer treatments can affect a child’s growth, fertility, and endocrine system. Child survivors may be permanently immunologically suppressed. Radiation to a child’s brain can significantly damage cognitive function, or if radiation is given at a very young age, limiting the ability to read, do basic math, tell time or even talk. Physical and neurocognitive disabilities resulting from treatment may prevent childhood cancer survivors from fully participating in school, social activities and eventually work, which can cause depression and feelings of isolation.
While I’m at it, did you know that nearly 2/3 of the childhood cancer survivors later experience significant and chronic medical problems or develop secondary cancers as adults that result from the treatment of their original cancer.
As The Crumb Diaries stated in her post: More US children will die from cancer than any other disease, or many other diseases combined. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children, claiming the lives of more children each year than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis and diabetes combined.
There are many ways to help with childhood cancer. You can see my previous posts about childhood cancer here. I have shared stories, statistics, and places that need your support.
Mary Tyler Mom and ChicagoNow.com has some great links at the bottom of her post that you can participate in.
The Crumb Diaries has more links as well as more background stories and videos on Donna.
Today, February 25th 2014, I join in on Donna Day.