I was once in the ignorant crowd. I never thought cancer could ever happen to my family. Cancer happened all around me. My grandmother had cancer, my aunt and several family friends. But, I didn’t think it would ever happen to my family. It was something I knew happened, but it only happened to others.
I was 12 years old, sitting in the hospital room waiting with my parents for the doctor to tell us what was wrong with my dad. I didn’t think much of it. My parents already had several surgeries done…but nothing major. It was probably some major flu or something other “regular” sickness.
The doctor eventually came in. And, til this day I can still remember the feeling that overwhelmed me when the doctor opened his mouth with my dad’s diagnosis.
My heart become heavy, it dropped to my stomach, my eyes welled up with tears flowing faster than I could control them. I remember immediately turning around so that my parents couldn’t see my weakness. I stared into the mirror in front of me. At that time, cancer = death to me.
In my head, I was losing my dad. I didn’t know how much time I would have with him. I was angry, sad, frustrated and confused. How did this happen to US?
That’s when I realized, we’re not invincible. Bad things can happen at any given moment. Bad things do happen.
And, yet, here we are over 20 years later and my dad is still with us. But not without trialed times. There were times when he was readmitted. Times when I felt like I was losing him.
We were given a miracle. And, I thank God all the time for this amazing miracle. The doctors said he shouldn’t have been up and walking. That it was a miracle in and of itself that he was still there to even be diagnosed. No thanks to the hundreds of misdiagnosis prior, just to make that point…
This has proven to me, that it can happen to us. It doesn’t just happened to those around me. And, this is why I feel so touched to share about childhood cancer. And, though my dad was a grown adult when it happened to him, it has still taught me that we must take care of ourselves, watch the signs and see then doctor when something doesn’t seem right. As adults, we can do this for ourselves.
But, for our kids…they need us to be their advocate. Some of them are so young, they can’t tell you when something feels wrong. Whenever my daughter was sick, the nurse on the phone would ask questions like, “does she have a headache? blurred vision? does her tummy ache?” What?! How do I know? She can’t tell me these things, she’s less than a year old!
So, we need to know the signs. We need to understand. Don’t be ignorant. And when something doesn’t seem right, go to the doctor. It’s always better to catch something early than when it’s too late. This leads me to this…
A couple years ago I was touched by a young child, Kylie Rowand. She was suffering from a rare form of childhood cancer. She didn’t make it to her third birthday unfortunately. But, I found love for this child that I never met. She touched my heart in a way I cannot explain. I followed her story and still follow her mother’s posts. I still continue to prayer for this family every single day. I will not ever let Kylie be forgotten.
This poor family was on a roller coaster ride. Good news followed by bad news followed by good news followed by bad news. I cried on a regular basis, just like when I was 12 all over again. Sad, angry, frustrated and confused. She was just a baby!
Then this morning, a post from another mother who is fighting for her child’s life was shared on the Kylie Rowand Foundation facebook page. It was well-written and caught my attention. Basically it started off like this.
“I remember sitting in my kitchen after seeing a post on a little girl with cancer. The images of the child horrified me. I turned to my husband, “You know, I’m not sure what I’d do if she were my kid. I don’t know if I would seek any treatment. Maybe it would be better to just let her go.”
…she means in lieu of putting her child through all the suffering a child must go through when treated for cancer. There aren’t many children treatments for cancer. They’re using adult medicines which are harsher on the child.
She continues to the next paragraph.
“Today that little girl is MY kid.”
She goes on saying she can’t believe she said that, to just let her go. Instead, she’s doing anything and everything to fight for her child’s life.
She also goes on to something I can relate to. She didn’t think something like this could ever happen to them. It happens to other people. Not us. Little did she know that while she was reading this post, cancer was growing in her daughter and year later would be diagnosed.
Cancer can happen to ANY child at ANY time. It does NOT have to be genetic, nor does it have to be in your family history.
I remember a post from Bree (Kylie’s mom) about something along the lines of being aware of the signs of childhood cancer. It’s better to know the enemy then to play ignorance.
I know my husband does not like talking about it because it scares him. I get that. It scares the crap out of me, too. I couldn’t imagine something like this happening to any of my children. I love them and would like to keep them.
I have also noticed that whenever I make a post about this on my facebook account, it gets little interaction, unlike my other posts. I worry my posts are being passed over because people are too scared to read them. Hence why I decided to write this post instead.
But what’s worse, did you know that out of cancer funding only 4% is given to childhood cancer research? I don’t know about you, but I think my child is worth well more than just 4%. Cancer kills more kids than AIDS, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and congenital anomalies – COMBINED.
Septmeber is just right around the corner. Did you know that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? I didn’t know until I found Kylie. I think it’s time we start spreading awareness. I ask that you don’t wait until September, start now.
And, if you are able to and wish to make a donation there are several foundation where your money can go towards good use. The one I use most is the Kylie Rowand Foundation. Mainly because Kylie touched my heart so much, but also because I know my donation will be used in a way to help the children fighting for their lives.
What childhood cancer foundations do you support? Will you proudly display the gold ribbon on your social media page for Childhood cancer Awareness Month?