Before my own son was diagnosed with cancer in 2001, I had no idea Childhood Cancer Awareness Month existed much less that it took place in September. If I had known, would I have done anything to get involved or support the awareness efforts? I’m not proud to admit that I might not have. I suppose I never felt I needed to be concerned about childhood cancer. Afterall, childhood cancer is something that happens to “other people,” right?
Childhood cancer affects thousands of children every year. It happened to my child. It could happen to any child. I have heard cancer in children described as “rare.” From a statistical standpoint, particularly compared to incidence of cancer in adults, I know this is true. However, once it touches your life, whether directly or indirectly, I believe you are never the same.
For all of us at CURE, September was a profoundly inspiring month. For years, I have heard parents lament that next to no one knows what September signifies. Compare that to October when everything is pink and everyone knows it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The fact that these months are back to back and awareness levels are at opposite ends of the
spectrum leaves parents of children with cancer feeling disheartened.
We really wanted to do our part to change this, so this year we launched a new initiative called “CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One day At A Time.” Through this initiative, we tried to give families a vehicle through which to share the stories of their children with a large audience. We felt that sharing the stories of “our” children is the best way to raise awareness of the need for the fight against childhood cancer to be a priority in this country. From the feedback which has poured in, along with the astounding number of
people who donated to CURE’s research efforts in honor or memory of a specific child, we are certain we made headway.
From our perspective, September was a very, very meaningful month. We think people were made aware of the devastating impact cancer has on a child, his or her parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, friends and the larger community.
We think awareness was raised about the dire shortage of funding dedicated to research for cures for childhood cancer, no matter that cancer takes the lives of more young people today under the age of 20 than any other disease. People responded. You responded.
One of my favorite quotes is by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Particularly after witnessing the progress the CURE community made in the month of September, I believe!