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September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
As a two time survivor of childhood cancer and founder of Walking Miracles charity, I have always been amazed at the lack of attention paid to families who have experienced childhood cancer.
Childhood Cancer Awareness? What does it mean? There is not one commercial on TV during September letting us know that it is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. There are no ribbons on billboards or buildings. We do see commercials that pull at the heartstrings with kids and celebrities, asking us to give to hospitals. We give to research, but does that pay for families to get to and from treatments, and does it replace lost income? No.
Every day children and families receive a diagnosis of childhood cancer. They are fighting and overcoming odds that no one should have to fight as a child. These kids take chemotherapy (poison in their little bodies) and radiation (high energy particles that are used to kill cancer cells). Kids with leukemia are on these drugs for a minimum of 3 years, 5 days a week. These children's lives are turned upside down and their childhoods are lost due to something they never asked for.
Children with cancer look different. They may be bullied and ostracized by other children because of ignorance. They are given extra attention by families and teachers. These families, if they are not educated, may not realize that treatment for childhood cancer can cause a lifetime of side effects. This will lead to more bills for the family, but what do the children feel? They feel frustration, anger, sadness, and lonely.
Where I live in rural West Virginia, families who have a child with cancer must drive 2 to 3 hours one way for treatment 5 days a week. They may spend over a third of their income on gas, food, and lodging in pursuit of therapy. Once a child is diagnosed with cancer, a family can go from two incomes to one like the snap of a finger. The bills and the stress mount up.
What if your child was diagnosed with cancer? Wouldn't you want to learn from someone who has been through that minefield before? Wouldn't you want a navigator and mental health counselor and someone to guide you? That is why Walking Miracles exists.
Walking Miracles was formed to empower childhood cancer families and survivors in rural West Virginia so we can walk with them through the journey and educate them along the way. We will provide support in recovery or in relapse.
Are there non-profits like ours in your area? Do you know where you would go for help? If not, take a chance and learn more about us. Maybe if we all work together we can help you too. Visit our web site WalkingMiracles.org