Ok, I know, this isn’t my usual blog where I share fun travel photos or money saving tips. Instead, I’m writing about a topic I’ve not discussed before. I’m writing about something that is near and dear to my heart. Something I am compelled to share with you.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Why am I so passionate about raising awareness for childhood cancer? Because there is so much that needs to be done for these children. And because it is a life I know all too well. Ten years ago, our then four year old son began his own battle with childhood cancer, and our family began a journey that no family would ever choose to walk. Our child had been diagnosed with ALL, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Overnight we were thrown onto a roller coaster ride that completely transformed our lives.
I’ll spare our own family’s details because the point of this post isn’t about us. It’s about every child, every family, who hears those dreadful words – “I’m sorry. Your child has cancer.” This post is about raising awareness. It’s about informing people of what they can do to help children with cancer and their families.
Lastly, this post is dedicated to the children fighting cancer. Our superheroes.
Facts About Childhood Cancer
Yes, the odds of your child being diagnoses with cancer are rare. Very rare. But did you know that childhood cancer is the #1 disease killer of children under the age of 15? Yet less than 5% of federal funding for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancer?
Here’s more startling facts that most people do not know about childhood cancer.
Enough said. In the end, only one thing matters, and that is the survival of our children affected by this devastating disease. And here’s how you can help.
Five Ways You Can Help Children With Cancer
There are so many ways you can show your support for childhood cancer. It doesn’t have to be money. Though of course, money helps! Here’s five ways to help in the fight against childhood cancer, and to make a difference for families in need.
1. Donate To A Childhood Cancer Organization
Donate money to an organization that is 100% dedicated to childhood cancer. Childhood cancer is vastly different than adult cancers both in type of disease and how it is treated. By donating directly to a children’s cancer organization, you will know your dollars have gone towards childhood cancer research and support programs.
Not sure where to start? Here are five awesome organizations 100% dedicated to children’s cancer research and support programs.
CureSearch For Children’s Cancer - Funding and supporting targeted and innovative children’s cancer research, and a treasure trove of childhood cancer information.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital - Improving childhood cancer survival rates and enhancing the long-term quality of life after treatment. Did you know that NO FAMILY ever pays St. Jude for anything?
Alex’s Lemonade Stand - A grass roots effort gone viral! ALSF grew from the efforts of one little girl. In honor of her legacy, Alex’s parents continue her dream through Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
The American Childhood Cancer Organization - Another grass roots effort dedicated to improving the lives of children with cancer and their families.
Make A Wish - Granting wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions, including cancer. Make-A-Wish is 110% for the kids.
Prefer to donate locally? There are most likely local or regional childhood cancer organization such as these three wonderful organizations in my area: Adopt-A-Pig, The Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware, and B+ Foundation.
Last but not least, make a donation to your local Children’s Hospital’s Oncology unit.
2. Help A Family In Need
Do you know a family who has been affected by childhood cancer? Bring them dinner. Cut their grass. Clean their house. Pick up forgotten items at the grocery store. Take the other kids out to the movies or a day in the park. There are so many simple ways to help a family in crisis. Trust me, that small effort on your part will not be forgotten. I know! That day the neighbors shoveled our driveway of 20+ inches of snow? Or when a neighbor picked up a few groceries for us? Priceless!
Don’t know how to help? Many families are overwhelmed by their child’s intensive medical needs and may not ask for help. Some, like myself, just couldn’t find the words. Preparing a meal is most always appreciated. Parents caring for their sick kids often don’t have time to make dinner.
3. Fund Raise For Better Childhood Cancer Research
It’s quite easy, really. Involve the kids too. It will be rewarding for everyone.
Many organizations offer fund raising opportunities. Join a walk, run a 5K. Host a yard sale or a bake sale and donate the proceeds to your local childhood cancer organization or children’s hospital. There are so many ways to fund raise, and every little bit helps. Look at Alex – she started with a lemonade stand!
Not sure where to start? Most national organizations have well organized fund raising efforts. Here’s several with active fund raising opportunities: Curesearch, St. Jude Walk, Make-A-Wish and Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Also check your local children’s hospital and local childhood cancer organizations for opportunities.
Sadly, childhood cancer research remains vastly, and consistently underfunded. So yes, every dollar helps.
4. Volunteer Time and Talent
Can you face painting, or juggle? Sing or tell jokes? Laughter really can be the best medicine, and it’s much appreciated. Volunteer your skills at a childhood cancer organization, a children’s oncology camp or the local children’s hospital. Just call and ask. Help is always needed.
5. Donate Kids’ Stuff To A Children’s Hospital
Nothing brightens a kid’s day more than a new game or toy, or a newly released movie on DVD. And kids being treated for cancer tend to have long, boring days stuck in hospitals. Days filled with treatments and nurses and doctors, not enough time being a kid. Check with hospital policy before making a donation. There might be restrictions, such as no stuffed animals.
Are You Inspired To Help?
Helping others in need, whether it’s a family coping with cancer, an elderly relative, or a family struggling to make ends meet, is very rewarding. There are so many ways you can help another person in crisis. One of my ways to help is supporting childhood cancer efforts. What’s yours? Let us know in the Comments section below.
Oh, that four year old of ours? We consider ourselves beyond blessed. He’s now a vibrant fifteen year old, living life the best he can.