I can't believe it's already the end of September! That be-otch, Irma, messed up our plans for this month, but we were very lucky that we were able to get back to work so quickly!
September is a very important month around here; it's Childhood Cancer Awareness month. A cause that is dear to my heart. A few years ago, a sorority sister of mine was supporting her son with all she had while he fought Neuroblastoma with all he had. This was when I started researching childhood cancer and I was shocked and deeply saddened by what I learned.
Here are a few Childhood Cancer stats:
- Every 36 minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer in the United States
- Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under 15
- This is not a RARE disease - 1 in 330 children (ages 0-19) will be diagnosed with cancer
- 1 of 5 children diagnosed with cancer will lose their battle to the disease
All that being said, childhood cancer is still severely underfunded by the government with less than 4% of research money allocated by the National Cancer Institute. The funds to keep the doctors and researchers working for the kids is mainly funded by charities. JOM supports the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation whose Sunshine Project is bringing together top doctors and researchers to speed up the development of less toxic and more targeted treatments to increase the survival rate of childhood cancer.
If you're not totally convinced that this is an area that needs our help and attention, just read this excerpt from a woman interviewed by Humans of New York.
“It was one of the most despicable things I’ve seen in my career. It was ten years ago. There were about twenty families being treated here whose kids had Neuroblastoma. The survival rate was about ten percent. One of our doctors developed an antibody that he thought was promising. But he’d run out of money. So he called a town hall meeting of sorts. He brought all the families together and told them he needed two million dollars. And they told him: ‘We’ll find it.’ We refer to them now as the Band of Parents. These people were desperate. Many of them were broke. And this burden was being placed on them. It made me sick. But they went back to their communities. They baked cookies, and organized bike rides, and held fundraisers named after their children. And they raised the money. All two million. And it worked. Dr. Cheung’s antibody worked. Today the survival rate is sixty percent. But it was so sad. Because deep in their hearts those parents knew the antibody would not be ready in time to save their child. But they raised the money anyway.”
Whitney Houston said (technically, sang) it best - I believe the children are our future. These children, if they win their fight, will be the ones to grow up and change the world for the better. We have to fight for them!