September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. We spotlight Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness of pediatric cancers and to encourage donations to organizations researching and treating pediatric cancers. We want to honor those going through cancer treatment and their caregivers, and to support those grieving the children lost to childhood cancers.
Cancer is the most complicated and complex problem our species has ever had to tackle. It’s literally easier to reach the moon than solve cancer. Pediatric cancers are particularly nefarious. No child should ever die in the dawn of life.
Statistics about Pediatric Cancer
- Forty-three children in the United States are diagnosed with cancer every day.
- Pediatric cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease for children under 14.
- Pediatric cancers only receive 4% of government cancer research funding.
- Childhood cancer survival rate in the U.S. has grown from 20% in the 1960s to 80% today.
- Because of major treatment advances in recent decades, 85% of children with cancer now survive 5 years or more.
6 Childhood Cancer Resources for Families and Care Givers
1. Grieving the Loss of a Child - Cancer.Net Editorial Board
2. Coping with a Diagnosis of Cancer in Children - Stanford Medicine | Children’s Health
3. What are Emotional Effects of Cancer on the Family? - Together \ St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
4. When Childhood Cancer Comes Back - Together \ St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
5. Online Communities and Support - American Cancer Society
6. Support for Families When a Child Has Cancer- National Cancer Institute
A Personal Story: From Childhood Cancer to Lifelong Advocate
It was the fall of 1997, I had just turned 12 and my body was rapidly changing. In addition to puberty, I felt exhausted and weak. It was a struggle to keep up with my classmates. I started coming home from school with more and more bruises. My parents were convinced I was being bullied. Things came to a head when I was walking to class and collapsed onto the hallway floor - vomiting.
I learned a week later that the source of all these issues was Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)- the most common type of childhood cancer. I was lucky. My family had decent health insurance, my community rallied around me, and research for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia had advanced enough that I was given a 75% chance of reaching remission.
During my year spent in the hospital I met many kids in the hematology/oncology wing. We bonded over our common experiences. Despite our circumstances we often felt a lot of hope. Things were looking good for each of us at some points. We had a lot of fun together.
But the cancer was too much for all of their little bodies. Of the group, I am the only one who survived to adulthood, and I have devoted my life to raising awareness and funds for cancer research.
As we start our fall this September, I hope we all remember the importance of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Gold is the color of pediatric cancer awareness, and I’ll be wearing gold all month as I remember those in my life I have lost, but also in appreciation for the work done to help save my own. There is hope, there is progress being made, and it is up to each of us to ensure that enough resources are shared with researchers and treatment facilities to help as many kids as possible.
Story by Chase Carter, Area Managing Director at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital - ALSAC
Organization to Support
St Jude Children's Research Hospital