This post is one I’ve really fought back and forth with myself about publishing because when I got the idea for it, I knew exactly how I wanted to do it. But it was so far out of my comfort zone that I’ve tried to talk myself out of it ever since the idea came to me, but the daredevil side of me won and I’m doing it anyways.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Most of you will know exactly why this is important for me, but for those of you who don’t, I will give you a very brief summary of what September means to me.
At two years old, I was diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer called Neuroblastoma and have had a rough battle with it off and on ever since (but mostly on). This means almost nineteen years of my life has been dedicated to fighting this deadly disease, and I’m one of the lucky ones. Nineteen years of surgeries, biopsies, blood transplants, emergency room visits, inpatient treatments, outpatient treatments, fundraisers, smiles, tears, miracles, and prayers. I’ve watched God single-handedly move every mountain out of my way and I’ve kept on. So in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I want to motivate more people to donate to research so children just like me (even though I’m no longer a child), can grow up to live their dreams. So that children like me can just grow up.
Here’s the part thats going to kick me right out of my comfort zone and parade my dirty little secrets right out front with glaring spotlights… I’m going to give you a real glimpse of what childhood cancer looks like, through my eyes, through pictures. Say goodbye to the glamorous wigs I’ve tricked you all into thinking is real, the false eyelashes, and the drawn on eyebrows and take a look at what childhood cancer REALLY looks like.
1 in 300 boys and 1 in 333 girls are affected by childhood cancer.
46 kids in the United States will be told they have childhood cancer today.
50,000 kids in the U.S. are fighting their fight from hospital beds.
There are more than 300,000 cases diagnosed globally each year.
60% of kids suffer late term effects such as infertility, heart failure, secondary cancer, etc (for me right now, this means esophageal webbing and dysphasia but could mean more late term effects in the future).
In the past 20 years, only THREE treatments have been developed and approved by the FDA for pediatric use.
Childhood cancer is the #1 cause of death by disease in children (yes, that’s really me under all that).
Only 4% of the national cancer institute’s budget is used for pediatric cancer research funding. We are more than 4.
One in five kids diagnosed with pediatric cancer won’t survive.
So, look at the blissfully happy pictures I upload when I look the way I want people to see me and think of me and remember that’s the real me, those moments are so real. But those moments have been fought for tooth and nail, everyday is another day to wake up and fight. But my God reminds me, “if you have you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain ‘move’ from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
When I look back on the past 21 years of my life, I see more good than bad. I remember more laughs than I do tears and I remember a lot of prayers that were answered by an incredible, sovereign God. I am grateful for this story to tell because of the people I’ve met, the things it has taught me (that’s a blog post for another day), and the relationships I’ve built because I have childhood cancer.
I pray You make me healthy, but until then, I pray You use my circumstances for Your glory.
In Jesus’ name I pray,
To put more smiles on the face of a kid with childhood cancer, donate to Blue SkiesMinistries at WhereSkiesAreBlue.org and give a cancer patient and their family a free trip to the beach full of laughter and memories.
To help save more lives and donate money to research for a cure to childhood cancer, donate to CURE Childhood Cancer at curechildhoodcancer.thankyou4caring.org.
To support a place thats kept a smile on the faces of a million kids during their cancer treatments, including me, donate to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at give.choa.org.