Childhood cancer is utterly devastating. You can’t beat around the bush with that. It’s the number one killer disease of children. And the sad thing is that worldwide – 700 kids are diagnosed each day. 700. Each. Day. The most staggering fact is that 250 children die each day from cancer. Putting this in perspective that means almost a third of the kids diagnosed will lose their battles. And sadly, we are no closer to understanding why kids get cancer. It’s not their environments, it’s certainly not their lifestyles. It’s a mystery that leaves so many lives shattered and broken.
For the many kids that do eventually beat this horrible disease, the side effects from the treatment have long-lasting ramifications throughout their lives. Chemotherapy messes with their growth and development. Radiation often gives rise to other cancers. Some drugs affect the heart and lungs and others reproductive organs. This means that some of these children when they reach adulthood may not be able to have children (if they so wish) because of the decreased fertility caused by these drugs. And we cannot forget the mental and emotional toll these remedies cause. Depression, anxiety, resentment, and more will also be factors children will have to deal with as they grow.
The thing with treatment is that most of the drugs used were developed for adults and the dosages scaled back for use in children. We need more research into why cancer occurs in kids and how to either prevent it or combat it without causing the irreparable damage child patients face now. The problem with childhood cancer is that there are many subtypes. This means different cancers require different treatment protocols. All of this research is not free though and is funded mainly through grants and donations.
How You Can Help!
There are some great organizations out there raising money to fund research for a cure, support for families, and the heartbreaking joy of giving kids amazing wishes for their last days. Please consider donating to them! If you need help, here is a small list to get you started:
Another way to help raise awareness is by going gold the month of September. Twibbon
has a great overlay you can add to your Twitter and Facebook profile pictures. Another way is to participate in fundraising runs and walks. If children want to get involved, there are tons of fundraising ideas they can do at school that helps them feel involved and raises awareness. Many of the organizations listed above can help you get started.
Childhood cancer devastating, but if each one of us bands together and helps raise awareness and money, we will find a cure for this horrible disease. And please, Go Gold for the month of September!