Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is quickly coming to a close and I feel as though I haven’t done my awareness-raising duties. So, here’s my please-come-walk-with-us-this-Saturday push, as published in The Heights Observer:

Krissy and Mark Gallagher, also of Cleveland Heights, are participating in the Walk for their five-year-old son Austin, a two-time survivor of kidney cancer. “Austin has lost his entire right kidney and half of his left to cancer,” explained Krissy. “He’s had 10 surgeries, 13 months of chemotherapy, 12 rounds of radiation, and has spent hundreds of nights in the hospital. Despite all that, he’s one of the lucky ones. Because he’s alive. Until we can say that for all children diagnosed with cancer, our work is not done.”

And that’s just it: Our work is not done.

Childhood cancer remains pitifully underfunded, with only 4% of dollars raised by the American Cancer Society going to research for pediatric and young adult cancers. That’s why our work isn’t done.

No new chemotherapy drugs have been developed specifically for childhood cancers in more than twenty years. That’s why our work isn’t done.

Austin’s cancer story, featured here in the first newsletter for the parent support group In It Together, is sadly not unique. But instead starts anew for nearly 40 families every single day. That’s why our work isn’t done.

Earlier in the month, following the fabulous Stand Up To Cancer telethon, there were many Facebook statuses that read, “I stand up for. . .”  I commented on one, listing the names of eight children: Austin, Ariana, Ashley, Dylan, Olivia, Abby, Seamus and Emily. Afterwards, I sat back and read over my list and realized that only two of them, including my own Austin, were still alive. Two out of eight. That’s why our work isn’t done.

Please join us for the CureSearch Walk on Saturday, if you can. Stand with us. Walk with us. Because our work isn’t done.

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