Philly day 2.
You may not have known, but September is childhood cancer awareness month.
Tonight as we watched Brady finish up the collection of his T cells in preparation for his HuCART Therapy coming in the next few weeks, I felt the need to shine a light into the darkness.
To shine a light into the world those live in where this disease has reared its ugly head…
Childhood cancer means holding your breath as the doctors place, yet another, central line into your child. A line that pushed just slightly too far would puncture their heart.
Childhood cancer is a double lumen coming out of their neck.
Childhood cancer is watching the treatments left available to save your child begin to vanish off the board as medicine fails and options fade.
Childhood cancer is them holding your hand and asking you to “squeeze on two” while they have hundreds of needle pokes a year. Literally hundreds.
Childhood cancer is seeing their elbows with almost permanent bruises from where their veins are collapsing beneath their skin from being drawn on so much.
Childhood cancer is watching them throw up things so toxic that it stains the hospital floor the brightest color of yellow you have ever seen.
Childhood cancer is breathing tubes and bi-pap vents.
Childhood cancer is 17 lines of medicine running at a single time to keep their body from shutting down.
Childhood cancer is watching their hair fall out in clumps and supporting them while they decide to shave it.
Childhood cancer is a Christmas size storage box full of of mediations they have needed.
Childhood cancer is endless nights away from those they love.
Childhood cancer is crying with their siblings not knowing what the future holds.
Childhood cancer is growing up to speak with doctors about your case in a way that other kids your age could never fathom.
Childhood cancer is your parents in constant fear that a normal cough, cold or joint pain is actually cancer returning or worsening.
Childhood cancer is leaning on your family and community to help carry you through.
Childhood cancer is depending on strangers to donate blood and platelets so you can survive.
Childhood cancer is watching fellow warriors that have become your friends pass away from the disease that is also trying to take you.
Childhood cancer is having your heart ripped to shreds as you watch their tears soak their pillows from the pain they are in.
Childhood cancer is hard.
All. Kinds. Of. Hard.
But you know what else it is? An opportunity to grow in strength more than we could ever imagine and see the meaning of resiliency and courage defined. A chance to witness the unbelievable generosity of so many in the most unexpected ways. A time when we understand just how precious and unpredictable life is. A season to hug those we love tighter than we ever have before. A way to see real life heroes before our very eyes.
So it’s September.
A time where we can celebrate those brave souls facing battles most of us could never imagine.
A time where we can step out to show our support by donating blood and platelets whenever we can.
A time where us parents can champion our warriors who are stronger than we will ever be.
Today Brady’s tears filled up his eyes and rolled down his cheeks as they pulled the stiff tubed central line from the artery in his neck. It is a procedure done with no numbing and no anesthesia.
These kids. These cancer kids. They are the most incredible humans I have ever seen.
Let’s show these kids they are worth more than four.
Way to battle warriors,
Did you know that pediatric cancer research receives less than 4% of all cancer research funding? Crazy, huh? Less than 4%. That’s why us parents are advocating that these kids are worth more than four.