Providing Family Care During a Child’s Cancer Journey Matters!
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
What do you see when you see a child? For me, I see hope, dreams, and a future. I see a child with their whole life in front of them: college, careers, marriage, having children themselves, etc.. Childhood should only part of a person’s life story, not all of it. The last thing I want to see in a child is their morality. However, this can be reality when cancer enters the life of a child.
Cancer is the number one cause of death by disease in children. About 10,500 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2021 alone, and approximately 1,190 of those children will die, according to the American Cancer Society. Few can imagine taking a child through a cancer journey, never mind the thought of a child dying.
Forgotten: The Journey and Care of Cancer Families
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and is when the cancer community fosters awareness to fund research and hospitals that treat childhood cancer. It celebrates the advances in childhood cancer research and survivorship, reminds us of children we’ve lost, and fosters advocates for the fight to end childhood cancer. Omitted from the conversation during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is family care including physical, emotional, and financial support of the child and family. To be clear, we do hear about kids who battle cancer as a way to fund cancer research and hospitals. What we do not hear about is the need to care, and support these children and families who actually make that journey. These families need financial, emotional, physical support!
Research, Treatment, and Journey
Childhood cancer is a three-legged stool, research, treatment, AND journey. Many families are left to their own devices to navigate the arduous cancer battle. However, there is a national organization that comes to the aid of children and their families who are on this cancer journey, Here to Serve. They provide wrap-around care including financial, emotional, and physical support. Unfortunately, without the same financial resources as hospitals and research organizations, Here to Serve lacks visibility and funding.
According to St Jude, 43 children in the United States are diagnosed with cancer every day. Even those who survive, the American Cancer Society shares 95% will live with treatment-related issues the rest o their lives. Often, children usually receive some of the harshest cancer treatment due to their young age and ability to endure aggressive treatments. Those treatments knock most children to their knees and often to the brink of death. Yes, children are strong, but chemotherapy takes no prisoners and pulls no punches.
White House Recognizes Cancer Caregivers
Caring for these critically ill children is physically and emotionally debilitating. It is long overdue to highlight and fund caregiving during a child’s cancer journey. Even the White House recognizes the need to focus on cancer caregivers, stating that many families feel terrified and overwhelmed by a child’s cancer diagnosis. There is no better opportunity to do this than Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! Cancer research and hospitals are important to focus on and fund, but NOT more important than the cancer journey and care of a child and their family.
Here to Serve Focuses on the Cancer Journey and Caregivers
Here to Serve mobilizes care communities, provides gift cards, raises money for their patient families, keeps friends informed of how the child and family are doing, offers referrals to little-known support organizations, and so much more. Learn about the important work Here to Serve does. Cancer families desperately need help. Chances are, and the statistics show, you are within the sphere of a family that has a child battling cancer. That makes you a potential advocate and someone who can take action. What better way to advocate for childhood cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month than to bring awareness and funding to an organization poised to help. Share this blog on social media and consider donating so Here to Serve can help more families.
By Bryan Quintas