September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
Everyone knows that pink ribbons represent breast cancer, but did you know that the gold ribbons symbolize childhood cancer? I’d guess most people don’t.
Childhood cancer is incredibly UNDER FUNDED, UNDER RESEARCHED and really not talked about very often.
Families, caregivers, charities and research groups across the United States observe September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. In the U.S., 15,780 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year; approximately 1/4 of them will not survive the disease. Many will fight the disease over and over again.
Children like Isabella Phalen.
Bella recently relapsed for a third time and will undergo a FOURTH round of treatments – including a second bone marrow transplant. Bella is a sweet, kind and loving little girl who does not deserve this. No child does.
Though the 5-year-survival rate for childhood cancers has reached 80 percent, nearly 2,000 kids under age 19 die each year, making cancer the leading killer of children by disease. There is still pediatric cancer that has a zero percent survival rate.
When I worked at Channel Two – I did many stories on children with cancer. Too many. My heart broke for them. All of them. I feel blessed and honored to have met so many wonderful, strong, courageous people. Kids and adults.
I was shocked when I first heard, from parents who lost a beautiful baby girl, that only 4 percent of money raised for cancer research goes to help fight and cure pediatric cancer. 4 percent. That doesn’t stop charities from using pictures of those beautiful, bald babies and children on their fundraising materials, does it?
Do you think they would raise as much money if they had a grown man’s picture on those posters?
Yet, Prostate cancer – where a patient’s average age at diagnosis is 66 years – receives more funding from the National Cancer Institute than ALL childhood cancers combined.
Of course, I am not saying that those suffering from prostate cancer should be ignored or are less important. But these are our children. Our babies. They haven’t lived yet – they haven’t experienced life to the fullest. Many who survive the disease have life-long effects from the treatments and medications.
I’ve watched too many children suffer. I’ve watched too many parents bury a child.
It’s heartbreaking. And unfair.
We need to speak up. Collectively.
Totally Buffalo is going to bring you stories throughout the month – as we did last year and the year prior – with facts, figures, and most importantly – the children battling the disease. I can only hope it will help in some small way.
So what can you do? Here are a few things you can do to help make a difference.
-Make a donation to a charity that helps children with cancer.
-Reach out to your elected leaders and tell them we want change. Tell them our kids are worth it. Tell them to stop wasting money on nonsense in our government – and put that money to the best possible use; the future of this great country. The children who will lead the way – who we need to lead the way.
-Share a story of a child who is battling or has battled cancer – help bring awareness to this terrible disease and the lack of funding.
-Say a prayer for these brave, beautiful children – including Bella – who deserve to live a full and pain-free life, who deserve to enjoy their childhood, who shouldn’t be thinking about anything but having fun and enjoying life.
READ MORE ABOUT BELLA:
- She beat the Spanish Flu as a child – now 102-year-old Niagara Falls Great-Great-Grandmother beats COVID-19. - May 31, 2020
- Local family turns home into prom central as they celebrate the best way they can! - May 30, 2020
- Through devastation there is optimism! Fire destroys popular Lewiston restaurant – but they remain Lewiston Strong - May 28, 2020
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