For Donna...and all the kids who've battled Pediatric Cancer and lost or won.

For Donna…and all the kids who’ve battled Pediatric Cancer and lost or won.

Today….as I sat here tonight yet again contemplating my BIG 100TH BLOG…..I was more than a little stumped as to what I should write about.  Because it’s the 100th Blog….I wanted it to be something meaningful and worthwhile.  Since you only celebrate your 100th blog ONCE…..it had to be something AMAZING….something HUGE.  I polled my readers to see what THEY thought I should write about.  The ideas they suggested were awesome….everything from 100 reasons I might kill the Dick to 100 reasons why living with penis people is hard fucking work.  Wonderful ideas…every single one.

 

But in the end…….I kinda choked.  And then I had one of those epiphany moments that you always hear about but seldom experience first hand.  September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.  The color is GOLD.  And, here in the midst of writing my 100th Blog, it seemed appropriate to use my platform to bring further awareness to a disease that is killing kids at an alarming rate.  KILLING THEM……not all of them…but far too many of them.  And it’s almost like the general consensus is that no one really gives a shit.  Yep, you get the perfunctory “Oh my, that’s so sad” when you see a commercial for St. Judes Hospital.  There’s the cursory “That poor child” when you see a story about one of the kids who’s fighting (or fought terribly hard and still died).  But it would almost seem that, unless its touching YOUR life SPECIFICALLY, the moment is fleeting.    I’ll be the first to admit…..I was once that mom too.  I avoided stories of sick kids because I couldn’t bear to read their stories.  I changed the channel when that somber music played and their tiny little faces crept across my television screen.  I promise you that I truly and honestly cared…but it hurt too much to be faced with a stark reminder of that kind of bold pain.

 

Then…….I read Donna’s story.  Her mom is an amazing writer and you just cannot help but be drawn in by her words.  Donna’s mom has spent the last several years chronicling the 31 months that Donna spent battling her cancer, from her initial diagnosis to her leaving this world, the entire month of September.  Each days blog entry represented one month of Donna’s life back then.   Donna’s Cancer Story is one of the hardest things I’ve ever read….it will break your heart into a million tiny, fractured pieces.  It will change you eternally.  You will never be the same again.  But as hard is you might think it is to simply READ…..imagine how hard it was to LIVE.  I’ve read it more times that I could ever tell you…and every time I do, I always wish to God that the final entry will be different, knowing damn well that it won’t be.  I cry……I mourn a child I’ve never had the honor of meeting (I know her mom….she is truly an amazing person)…..and, inevitably, I take a few extra moments to snuggle close to my young penis people and be grateful for the health that they have been blessed with.  Seriously….Donna’s story is simply THAT powerful.  I often wondered if Donna’s mom, Sheila, could have ever imagined that her beautiful girl would quite LITERALLY change the world.

 

Last year….after re-reading Donna’s story once again and seeing quite a few of my awesome friends (I promise you….I ONLY HAVE AWESOME FRIENDS) shave their heads in honor of Donna (and to help raise much-needed dollars for Pediatric Cancer Research through St. Baldricks) I was determined to make some kind of difference and do something too.  If Donna could change so many lives and she wasn’t even physically here to do it……I had no damn excuse to not do something too.  So I set out to organize a kick ass team of women and we raised some major dollars (nearly $4000 to be exact) at an event that grossed nearly a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS IN ONE DAY for Pediatric Cancer Research.  How a-fucking-mazing IS THAT?!?!?!?  I wrote about that experience in a blog called  “Ask me why I’m bald” and you can read it by clicking on the blog title to take you right to it.

 

And so……its September once again.  For so many families, September is a month of new back-to-school routines…..and endless chatter of football games on the TV……of settling in to the crisper days and cooler nights.  But for families who’s children’s lives has been forever touched by that brazen, evil mother fucker Cancer…..September is a month to pay homage to the kids who are fighting right this very moment…….or who’ve fought as hard as they could and are moving on to what can only be hoped is a better, pain-free place where Cancer no longer exists.  September is a month to bring these kids out to the forefront so that more people will care……more awareness will be raised…..more dollars will be sent to fund research…..more lives can be saved.

 

Statistics usually bore me to tears.  But Pediatric Cancer Statistics make my heart hurt.  Did you know that ONLY 4% of the money raised by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute is used to fund ALL of the different Pediatric Cancers.  Breast Cancer ALONE receives nearly 40% of their funding.  Did you know that there are only approximately 300,000 children in the United States that have SURVIVED Cancer.  That is because when a child is diagnosed with Cancer, there is an 80% MORTALITY rate.  Those diagnosed with Breast Cancer have a 85% SURVIVAL rate.  The very difference in these two statistics is very simple……..AWARENESS and FUNDING.

 

THIS is why I’m so passionate about children with Cancer.  This is why I shaved my noggin bald.  And this is why I’ve been sharing their stores and will continue to do so the ENTIRE month of September (with special thanks to Sheila for reaching out to her fellow Cancer parents and compiling their stories).  Statistics are important…but they are only part of a larger picture.  The personal stories touch people on a more basic, human level.  Its easier to read the statistics and then promptly forget them.  It’s far harder to read those heartbreaking stories……see the photos of the kids….and then proceed to do NOTHING.

 

So if you’ve not yet had a chance to read about some of the kids who are battling right now…..or battled hard and still Cancer won…….read Childhood Cancer Stories – The September Series by Sheila (aka Mary Tyler Mom) and each day she will “introduce” you to a kid that you need to know and remember.  Some survived…..many did not.  Like Sheila’s own Donna.I cannot fathom the pain that comes from living a life that meant outliving my young child.  Go….right NOW…..hug your child (even if they’re asleep) and know that there are far too damn many parents who simply CANNOT do the same right now.

Advertisements