September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and, if you happen to visit the CHOP website, the statistics are staggering. Cancer is the LEADING cause of death in children and, as I'm sure you realize, it is one of the least funded areas of research. It's no secret that pediatric oncology has a place in our family's heart, which is why Alex's Lemonade Stand is so important to us and why we've decided to make the Lemon Run a staple of our year. We'd love for you to join us in running or walking the 5K distance (3.12 miles) in honor of the children fighting this disease or in memory of the one's who have left this world because of it. Whether you can join in a local race or go to your local park and just walk to distance while your thoughts are with those precious children and their families... Whether you can't walk or run, but you want to donate to help fund the research that saves lives (and will one day find a cure)... You can make a difference for a child and their family.
We've been asked to share Robert's story as part of the Alex's Lemonade Stand Heros project. As I worked on his story, our family was shocked to learn that one of Peter's younger cousins had to be rushed to the hospital for pain, where it was discovered she had ovarian cancer. She's in her early 20s with her life ahead of her and now she feels as though she's been slammed into a wall. (On that note, I've sent out some emails to folks already, but if you are an ovarian cancer survivor, especially if this happened in your teens or early 20s, and are willing to connect with her, please email me.) On top of this, a child the kids and I had been praying for each day lost her battle with cancer. It's been a rough few weeks.
What could we accomplish if we put our heads together? If instead of our daily Starbuck's, we donated those funds to organizations of Alex's to fund more research? Isn't it worth that $5/day? Isn't the possibility that we could save ONE child- that we could give them the chance to grow up, to go to college, to marry and have children, that we could save a single family the heartbreak of burying a son or daughter, a brother or sister- isn't that worth it?
I'd love to say that I'm going to stop doing this or that until the time at which we have a cure... But ideology isn't going to win the war. Instead, I think we have to talk about it. Just like with infertility and loss, we have to break the silence and ignorance. We have to share our stories- THEIR stories-, open our wallets (and our hearts), lace up our running shoes, and focus on the cause. It's not about who discovers the cure or even when... It's about giving these families hope and doing whatever it is we can to give these special children the life that is out there waiting for them...
September doesnt have very many days left, but if you blog or facebook or if you dont (you probably still talk to someone during your day!), get the word out. Make the next few days your contribution to the cause. Educate someone. Donate something. Take a walk and pray. Meditate and send your energies to your local children's hospital. Reach out to a family in crisis. Read a book to a sick child (or, better yet, treat them like they were BEFORE they were sick... They may have cancer, but they still want a childhood!). Talk to a mother and dont expect her to break down on your shoulder (but let her if she needs to). Relax with a father (and dont expect him to sob like an infant but, if he does, let him know that it's okay). Remember with a family who has lost a child; you have no idea what simply saying that child's name and letting their parents and siblings know that YOU remember can mean. Blog about it, facebook a link, or just say a few words.
But it's here. It's not going away anytime soon. And, if we cant stop it from happening, we can at least work towards curing it. That cure starts by our words.
"September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month..."
(Click here to visit our Robert's Run page as part of the 2012 Lemon Run in Philadelphia)