September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 16, 2009 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Carter Richards. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Carter’s Fund.
Carter Richards’ Story:
In May of 2007, Carter was an ordinary 6 year old boy. Getting ready to finish Kindergarten, brother to Max and Beau, life was normal. Carter had started to complain of leg pain and also experience random fevers which came and went. His pediatrician ordered blood tests and then referred us to Scottish Rite’s Hematology/Oncology Clinic. An hour appointment soon stretched to a 9 day hospital stay as more tests were run including a bone marrow biopsy. A diagnosis of ALL came on May 12, 2007, just weeks before Carter’s 7th birthday. The next morning we watched in stunned silence as Carter was taken to the OR to have his port surgically implanted in his chest. Chemotherapy started that day.
Six months of intensive chemotherapy followed while our family struggled to get used to our new normal. Carter had his own struggles, starting with learning to take pills. This new skill took almost 6 months to achieve. Carter also had to learn to deal with the effects of the chemotherapy and steroids which included weight gain, unending hunger, loss of coordination, difficulty sleeping and emotional swings. The chemo also wreaked havoc with his blood counts, and he needed several transfusions of blood and platelets. During this 6 month time frame, a new school year began, and Carter started 1st grade on time. He also continued to play soccer and basketball during one of the most intense months of chemo. It was during this time that his hair finally fell out. At the end of this phase of treatment, Carter spent his second stay in the hospital, waiting for his blood counts to recover.
Carter is now in his maintenance phase, a part of treatment that will continue until July of 2011. Maintenance involves daily oral chemotherapy, monthly clinic appointments with port access and chemo, quarterly spinal taps and monthly rounds of steroids. To all looking on he seems a healthy, suntanned 8 year old with an energy level few can achieve. As his family, we know as healthy as he seems one fever sends us directly to the Emergency Room.
While we certainly didn’t ask to be on this journey, and we wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone, we cannot ignore the blessings that we have received since Carter’s diagnosis. Family, friends and our whole community have come together to support us as a family. Our family lives life differently now as we have learned to focus only on today and what it really means to count your blessings. We are committed to spending the rest of our lives fighting this battle for all the families too tired to fight. We are aware everyday that other families came before us, and Carter’s successful treatment is a direct result of their commitment to this cause.
About September & CURE’S Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time:
September is recognized as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This September, CURE Childhood Cancer has committed to raising awareness and raising money to help find a cure for childhood cancer in our lifetime and put an end to this terrible disease through a special program CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time!
Please help us in our goal of raising $30,000 in the month of September while honoring special CURE kids each day of the month who have been affected by childhood cancer.
For more information, please click here.
About CURE Childhood Cancer:
Founded in 1975, CURE Childhood Cancer is dedicated to conquering childhood cancer through research, education and support of patients and their families. Since its establishment as a grass-roots organization, CURE has focused its efforts on improving the care, quality of life, and survival rate of children with cancer.
The founders, parents and a dedicated pediatric oncologist, joined forces to support laboratory research that would translate into immediate care for children with cancer.
Since that time, CURE has raised millions of dollars to fund cutting edge research at the Aflac Cancer Center Blood Disorders Service at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine.
Through innovative programming, CURE also provides support for stricken families, providing them comfort and support during their time of devastating need.
Donate to Carter’s Fund
Visit us online at www.curechildhoodcancer.org for more information.