Thirteen days ago I received an email with the subject line “sad news.” In it a friend told me that his sister, who I know, had given birth to a son the previous Sunday, but Luke was born with a massive brain tumor and died one day later. The “sad news” promised in the subject line was an understatement.
Every three minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer.
If you do not know a child with cancer or a family who lost a child to cancer there is a good chance you will soon. The hope is always that it is not your child and your family, but there are no guarantees about that. Cancer, particularly in children, is cruelly unpredictable.
I rarely thought about childhood cancer before I met Sheila of Mary Tyler Mom. I did not have a chance to meet her daughter Donna. Donna died on October 19, 2009 after 31 months of treatment for her rare brain tumor. If you want to know what parenting a child with cancer is like, read Donna’s Cancer Story here. Have tissues handy.
Through Sheila I learned about St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds childhood cancer research. Here are some facts from the St. Baldrick’s website about why researching cures and treatments specifically for childhood cancer is important:
- Since childhood cancers are rarely related to lifestyle factors little can be done to prevent them.
- There are some cancers that only occur in kids under five-years-old and others that are most prevalent in teenagers.
- Early diagnosis of childhood cancer is uncommon. 80% of kids have had their cancer spread to other parts of their bodies before it was diagnosed.
- For 80% of kids lucky enough to survive their cancers the impact of aggressive treatments on growing bodies leads to chronic health problems and even life-threatening conditions later in life.
- Childhood cancers only receive 4% of U.S. Federal funding for cancer research.
This video explains more about the impact of childhood cancer.
Today I and other bloggers honor Sheila’s daughter Donna with Donna Day, a day to raise awareness of childhood cancer and raise money for St. Baldrick’s. Hopefully, the above helped with the raising awareness part of the goal. Now, let’s talk money.
As of the time that I’m writing this, Donna’s Good Things has raised over $290,000 for St. Baldrick’s. That is awesome, but for all the reasons I listed above, more is needed.
Donate money to support the Donna’s Good Things head shaving event. Information is here. You can choose to to donate to the Donna’s Good Things team, or choose a specific shavee to support. Here are a few of the amazing shavees to choose from:
- Abel V. a young boy who told his mom ‘I am going to cut my hair bold for kids that have cancer and I want some boty to sponser me.’ [sic] Donate to Abel’s campaign here.
- Sarah Zematis a woman who had already planned to donate her ponytail to honor people she has lost to cancer when her daughter was then diagnosed. She is letting people choose her fate with two campaigns. If you think she should donate her ponytail as originally planned donate here. If you think she should shave it all off instead donate here.
But anyone who has volunteered to give up their hair for this good cause is worthy of support.
It doesn’t matter how much or how little you can give. Any support matters. Do it for Donna and my friend’s sister’s baby Luke and for far too many other kids alive and dead.
And, it’s not too late to join as a shavee yourself. If you will be in Chicago on March 28th and want to have your head shaved to help kid’s with cancer, click the “join us” button on this event page.
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