Category Archives: CURE's Kids

CURE Invites Families to Join in Fundraiser and Awareness Initiative “CURE’s Kids Conquer Childhood Cancer One Day at a Time”

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – but many people (too many people!) have no idea that cancer affects children, much less that a Childhood Cancer Awareness Month exists.  CURE Childhood Cancer is planning a fundraising and awareness initiative to raise awareness of childhood cancer and CURE during the month of September, and we would like to invite our families to participate.

We are very excited to announce the second annual “CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time.”  This initiative is a way for our families to get involved and help raise awareness in our community about the problem of childhood cancer and much needed funds for research. Each day in September, CURE will highlight a very special child in our CURE family who has been affected by cancer.  Some of the children we highlight are currently fighting the battle, some are children who have finished therapy and are living the cure, and others are children who have lost their battles but will be loved and remembered always.

For families who wish to participate, CURE will feature your child and his or her story on our website, blog and Firstgiving fundraising page.

CURE will set up a Firstgiving fundraising page especially for each child where donations can be made in honor of that child on or for their special day in September.  Our goal is to raise $2,000/day each day ($1,000 for each child featured) to help fund research which will lead to better treatments and cures for childhood cancers.

Families who participate will help in spreading the word about their child’s day to their network of friends, family and co-workers and encourage them to support the day by helping to reach or exceed the $1,000 per child goal.

If you would like to participate, please contact Lisa Branch at lisa@curechildhoodcancer.org.

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CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time is Back!

September is recognized as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Last year, CURE started a special program to honor special children with cancer each day throughout September called CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day At A Time, raising money to support important research into cures for cancers that affect children.  Last year, more than $170,000 was raised to support lifesaving research.

This September, CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day At A Time is back! CURE Childhood Cancer is featuring special CURE Kids each day for the entire month of September, each having been personally affected by childhood cancer. Some featured children will be in the midst of their fight, some have conquered the disease, and some have lost the battle and will be honored on their special day.

Did you know that cancer is the #1 disease killer of children in the U.S. today? While we certainly cannot only think of childhood cancer during the month of September, we are hopeful that this special month can truly make a difference again this year.

Each day, the featured children and their families have committed to reaching out to their networks in an effort to each raise $1,000 to benefit CURE Childhood Cancer. Currently, only 2% of federal funding for cancer research is directed at solving cancers that impact our children, so efforts like this truly do make a difference. Our goal at month’s end is to raise $60,000 to put towards the fight to end childhood cancer, while also honoring these very special children One Day at a Time!

Join us in the fight against childhood cancer this September.  We ask you, is there a special child in your life who has been affected by cancer that you’d like to honor this September?  We encourage you to help us in our efforts by letting us honor your little warrior and joining our efforts to raise $60,000 in one month.

If you’d like more information on how to get started honoring a special CURE Kid in your life, please email Lisa Branch at lisa@curechildhoodcancer.org. You’ll be asked to provide pictures and a story about your child’s journey that we may share with our supporters and your friends and family members.

We look forward to honoring each and every special child this September –  share yours with us.

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Gwen’s Story

Gwen was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at the age of eighteen months.  She had suddenly stopped walking; it turned out that she had a tumor in her right chest, which had grown into her spine and was severely compressing her spinal cord.

Within hours of diagnosis, she was in surgery.  She returned from surgery with a huge scar running down half her spine, decorated with staples.  Not much of the tumor was taken out, just enough to relieve the compression.  That surgery was followed by five rounds of chemotherapy, another major surgery to remove the rest of the tumor, two tandem bone marrow transplants, radiation, and oral medication for six months.

She cheerfully crunched her last pill (because she could never swallow them!) a few weeks before her third birthday.

Gwen is now seven years old, and strong and healthy!  Our family is so grateful for the treatments that saved her life, and for the angel nurses and doctors who cared for our daughter.  We also, however, continue to deal with after-effects of those very harsh treatments: we are already seeing scoliosis due to the spinal surgery and radiation, and there are many other issues, including other cancers, that Gwen will always be at risk for.  This is why the research CURE Childhood Cancer does is so important: not only do we need to save kids’ lives, we need to find better, less toxic ways of saving them!

Written By: Tabitha Mason, Gwen’s Mother

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Cure Childhood Cancer’s Impact… A Mother’s Reflections

We never expected our surprise visit to the “Family Quiet Room” the day we took Jack to the E.R… It was a spring day of breathtaking splendor, a stark contrast to the breath stealing walls we would later face… Nothing of that day’s beauty prepared us to hear the word: CANCER.

While attending our city’s annual “Touch a Truck” event, a dream for a boy like Jack, Jack misperceived the depth of a stair and took a stumble. “Owwww!” he exclaimed, immediately grabbing his left shoulder and wincing in sudden pain.

Throughout that day, and the following, Jack complained intermittently of pain in his shoulder, causing us to wonder if it had become dislocated in the tumble. Later that day, we would surely know, as he awoke from a nap with wrenching wailing and screams.

After what felt like hours begging for pain medication and shoulder X-rays, we were escorted to the “Quiet Room.” “Jack appears to have a tumor in his shoulder.” The normally harmless yank to his arm had caused a stress fracture in the area, already silently brittle from advanced disease. In our shock and dismay, we bolted that suffocating room, and ran the halls to our boy. We would roam those halls in terror for the next 17 days, as we embarked on the most difficult journey of our lives.

The days that followed our admission to the hospital seemed to blur by in equal measures of breakneck speed and agonizing wait. Scan upon scan confirmed the most dire of circumstances for our young boy: Stage IV Neuroblastoma, high risk for relapse, unfavorable histology, N-Myc amplification, extensive bone-marrow disease, rare lesions in his lungs, and two large — possibly too dangerous for surgery — tumors on his left kidney, and within inches of his heart. We were terrified.

The plan for treatment, which would include 5 rounds of induction chemotherapy, tumor resection with open-chest and abdominal surgeries, stem-cell harvesting, two excruciating and life-threatening rounds of high-dose chemotherapy followed by stem-cell transplants, radiation treatment, and 6 months of oral chemo (that we were certain a 3-year-old would never be able to swallow!), was daunting. Considering I was also 5 months pregnant, it was even more so.

We had no human capacity to grasp the magnitude of what we faced. All we knew is that we believed our son could be CURED. On the top of the drawing in which our oncologist scribbled each event to occur, we asked him to write the title that would define our entire journey: “The Road to the Cure.” He did, and gratefully, it has been a self-fulfilling prophecy.

CURE Childhood Cancer gave us hope for that road early on in our journey. As we quickly learned all about neuroblastoma and the vicious way it ravages children, we learned that CURE is one of the top supporters of research to stop childhood cancers. We also learned that because neuroblastoma is such a complex disease of the sympathetic nervous system and requires the most intricate of studies, a very small amount of research money is dedicated to ending the disease. However, CURE, has committed funds to support anti-body treatments that are improving the survival rates for neuroblastoma children every day! CURE has invested in top researchers who understand this deadly disease, so perhaps parents won’t EVER have to hear the words we heard at the beginning of the journey: “We can give you a few really good years with your child…”

“A few really good years?” Is that really what we want for our children?

Certainly, “a few really good years” is a blessing to any parent facing the “odds” we faced with Jack. You will scramble to hold onto to any scrap of hope with your child. Yet, we wanted and BELIEVED in a lifetime. We wanted and BELIEVED it was worth the fight. We wanted and BELIEVED in the Cure. And, with grace and amazing doctors, we are now living it 5 years past Jack’s surprise diagnosis in the hospital that day.

We never expected to need CURE the day we walked into the E.R. We never expected we would be fed a warm meal by volunteers every week, or be personally touched by the benefactors who support the organization. But we did, and were indeed blessed continually by CURE and the support of people, we will never even know. Sadly, statistics say that many of our kids will relapse and need CURE again. And, CURE will be there to help the family’s immediate needs, while fearlessly fighting to stop it from happening to another child. We pray every day that won’t be Jack. But one thing is certain: from the human touch we received in the hospital, to the groundbreaking research being done for children like Jack all over the world, we couldn’t be more grateful.

Today, Jack is entering 3rd grade, and is as healthy and happy as can be. He knows he had “sick cells”, and now wears hearing aids because of the profound hearing loss he suffered from the harsh chemo. He doesn’t have any reflexes in his legs, feet or hands, which means he can’t be in the military. But, on his tummy, he has a badge of honor that we never expected him to have: it is the scar from his tumor that says, “I AM the Cure Baby!”

By: Jennifer Williamson

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CURE Honors Ronnie Gordon

You hear stories of childhood cancer – always focusing on the cancer. But what about after the battle is over – once it’s been won so to speak? At times, the battle to return to a normal life can be just as daunting as battle with the disease itself. It requires continued courage and strength to get back to your life when cancer is all you’ve known for so long.

Ronnie Gordon has been off therapy since 1993. Since then, he has accomplished many of his dreams that he at one point did not think would be possible. He graduated from Buford High School in 2005. Then went to Jacksonville State University where he was a Marching Southerner for two years. He is also a member of Alliance Drum and Bugle Corp, who took the title of DCA World Champions in 2008.

Ronnie loves to spend his time helping others. He has been a very active part of Camp Sunshine since 1994. Since 2006 he has put together a parade with his fellow musicians for the kids at Camp Sunshine. Even after such hard times at one point in his life, Ronnie is still focused on others.

Ronnie is currently a satellite technician for Mastec Advanced Technologies. He is also active in a community theatre group by the name of Fifth Row Center. In addition to being a satellite technician, Ronnie is also a videographer and has many of his creations on You Tube.

CURE Childhood Cancer celebrates Ronnie and his recovery.

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Share Your Photos with CURE

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. We believe this to be true.

CURE Childhood Cancer is currently seeking photographs of children with cancer, survivors or children who have been lost to cancer.  Siblings and/or other family members can also be included in the photographs.  We would like to be able to use these photos in our communication materials since “real” photos of children from our very own CURE community will best paint the picture of childhood cancer in an authentic light.

We welcome your photos for submission with your permission that they may be used for such things as brochures, emails, online or on our website. We cannot utilize photographs that are copyrighted, which includes Flashes of Hope photographs.

Thank you for sharing your children with us and allowing us to honor them and their journeys by utilizing their photos.

Please email all photos to kristin@curechildhoodcancer.org

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