Here are some of the interesting cancer sites that I use, either to do research or raise money or find inspiration.
This is the hospital where Austin has received all of his treatment, which happens to be located a mere mile-and-a-half from our house. When he’s in-patient, he stays at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and his out-patient chemo treatments were done at the Ireland Cancer Center.
Formerly The Children’s Oncology Group, CureSearch is a collaboration between the oncology departments of childrens’ hospitals across the country that facilitates the sharing of research and treatment protocols. This concept (actual sharing!) is unfortunately a novel idea in modern medicine, and pediatric cancer has been the model for the rest of the medical community to follow (although they’ve been slow to do that, as described in this 2007 New York Times article about the disparities in adult cancer treatment depending on where you happen to live when you get sick).
St. Baldrick’s is one of our favorites, because it is just such a brilliant idea. On St. Patrick’s Day 2000, three re-insurance agents in New York City challenged each other to shave their heads to raise money for childhood cancer research. Hoping to raise “$17,000 on the 17th,” they surprised everyone, and themselves, by raising over $104,000, giving birth to a national foundation. Now nine years and more than 72,000 bald heads later, the St Baldrick’s Foundation has raised over $50 million to conquer kids’ cancer. Not only are shavees raising necessary dollars, but their bald heads inevitably raise awareness, sparking many more conversations than a t-shirt advertising a 5k race would. Mark has participated in the Cleveland event for the past two years which happens to be quite a party:
My brother Cory organized his college buddies last year to do an impromptu shaving at Miami and this year, he participated in an event out in Utah. Another neat thing about it is that because I’ve posted Austin’s story (a seriously abridged version!) on the St Baldricks’s site, strangers have chosen to honor him with their own head-shaving. Last year, a police officer in Austin, Texas picked him (surely because of his name) and he told me that at their event, while his head was being shaved, someone read Austin’s story out loud. It was quite a powerful image for me to imagine a bunch of strangers halfway across the country thinking of my baby in a moment like that.
And then this year, a high schooler in Illinois, also named Austin, chose my Austin to honor, and his family has been following our journey ever since. It can be really emotional for people, especially women (there were almost 2,500 this year!) as they shave their heads to stand in solidarity with our bald children. So St Baldrick’s is definitely our favorite.
Stand Up To Cancer is a celebrity-driven movement that has raised millions of dollars in the last year alone to fund “Dream Teams” of doctors to collaborate on their research, guided by the belief that we (meaning society in general, our country and our world) have the talent, the technology and the knowledge to cure cancer right now, we just have to stand up and get it done.
This site was created by Kelly Corrigan, author of The Middle Place and a cancer survivor, to help spouses and friends support a loved one through (mostly breast) cancer treatment.
This is Lance Armstong’s foundation, designed to help cancer patients and survivors live full lives. One of the things I’ve always liked about LiveStrong is that all their essays written by current or former patients begin with the words, “I became a cancer survivor on . . . ” and the date that is listed is the date of diagnosis, not the date that treatment ended or remission or cure were confirmed, but the date it all started because, when you really think about it, every day you live beyond that point, you have survived your cancer.