I’ve decided that something good has to come out of our circumstance. So many people are rightfully terrified of Childhood Cancer. It’s scary. It makes you uncomfortable to see bald kids and sad parents. We live in our bubbles and aren’t even aware of how massive it is until we are thrust into it. I’m guilty of the same. For years I’ve changed the St. Jude’s channel, said no when a cashier asked if I could give $1 to the Children’s Miracle Network, and avoided eye contact with people in public with an obviously sick kid. It doesn’t make me a bad person or anyone else. We are protecting ourselves from having to picture ourselves in a cancer family’s shoes. It’s not a place anyone wants to be.
Now my eyes are wide open to the sheer force that is Childhood Cancer. So I’ve decided that every Friday I’d like to drop some facts about Childhood Cancer. It may be things people can pray about, facts to help bring it into perspective for people who haven’t experienced it, or info about organizations that are awesome for families like ours. My hope is to bring awareness and yes- donations- to a cause that is now very literally part of my heart.
Today’s fact is: only 4% of the federal medical research budget goes to Childhood Cancer. 4%. In addition to that practically 0% funding comes from pharmaceutical companies because they cannot turn a profit. This is why 2 year olds like Sophie are getting adult grade chemo broken into multiple smaller doses. The statistics of Childhood Cancers just don’t fit with this. The average age of an adult diagnosed with cancer is 66 and they average 17 years of lost life when they lose their battle. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the average age of children when diagnosed is 6 years old and they average 71 lost years when they lose their battles. Hundreds of drugs have been developed and approved for adult cancers in the past 30 years where only 3 have been approved for children.
Do you see the disconnect here? I do.
While there’s nothing we can do about that, we CAN do something about where OUR money goes. If you are donating money to Childhood Cancer, do some research. Give to organizations that are proven to fund Child Cancer research and financial assistance. I’ll list some of those websites below. A lot of the ‘popular’ organizations don’t actually fund children. For example, the American Cancer Society gives 1% of their funds to children. That does NOT mean the ACS is bad!!! I am not saying that at all! I think all Cancer needs funding so it can all be cured and the ACS does amazing things for so many people!! What I am saying, is that if you want your donations to go specifically to children, the ACS is probably not where you want to do that. Even if you can’t give financially- which I completely get-you can help raise awareness. Volunteer for any cancer events in your area, sign up to volunteer at the hospital so that the kids there are no longer ‘unseen’ for you, post about it on Facebook, give blood, pray! etc. It’s going to take more than just the families of cancer patients to help affect change. It’s uncomfortable and it’s scary but, how cool would it be to live in a world where you didn’t have to avoid cancer kids because there were none?
Just a few organizations for Childhood Cancer that we have personal experience with:
Specifically how you can help kids, like Sophie, at Children’s in Dallas in non-financial ways:
Gold Network of East
St. Baldrick’s Foundation