As I’m sure a lot of you have seen on Instagram, people started posting pictures of children’s characters this week with the caption “I intend to populate instagram with children’s characters for Child Cancer Awareness Week. Give me a like and I’ll assign you a character.”
First of all, I promise, I am by no means trying to bash this attempt to raise awareness for childhood cancer because we all know how passionate I am about that. But I feel like there are much better ways to get people to truly understand how important this kind of awareness is. So instead of just a childhood character, I am sharing what childhood cancer actually looks like..
I know not everyone is as informed about childhood cancer, but I know that if they were, they would do so much more to help make a change. That is why I decided to write this blog. I have experienced childhood cancer, second hand, through a some of the closest people in my life. Although they are no longer here with us on this earth, I will continue to fight for them until no child has to ever hear the words, “you have cancer.“
If we are being truthful here, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is actually in September, but I absolutely will not complain about people making up a week in December in order to try and raise more awareness 🙂 If we really want to be “aware” though, then there are some things you need to know. Awareness isn’t posting a picture of a character, awareness is knowing the facts and knowing what really goes on in the life of a child (and their family) fighting cancer…
Each year about 15,700 children are diagnosed with cancer. Despite these statistics, childhood cancers do not receive as much funding as adult cancers. To be exact, all childhood cancers combined receive only 3.8% of the government’s funding for cancers each year. I find that absolutely horrifying.
Take a look at the picture above. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for funding breast cancer research!! But when ALL childhood cancers combined revive that much less, there is a huge problem.
It is impossible to measure the impact that childhood cancer has on its victims and their families & friends by using statistics, but these research funding decisions are often based on numbers. So here are some facts for you to consider:
- Almost 700 children are diagnosed with cancer every single day
- In the same day, about 250 children will lose their life
- The average age of death for a child with cancer is 8, causing a childhood cancer victim to lose 69 years of expected life years
- Even if they do survive, 2/3 of survivors will have long lasting chronic conditions or even develop secondary cancers from treatments
- Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the United States
- The incidence of childhood cancer is on the increase, averaging 0.6% increase per year since mid 1970’s resulting in an overall increase of 24% over the last 40 years
- Cancers in very young children are highly aggressive and behave unlike malignant diseases at other times in life
- Treatment can continue for several years, depending on the type of cancer and the type of therapy given
- Over the past 25 years, only TWO new cancer drug has been approved for pediatric use
- The causes of childhood cancer are still unknown
Unless childhood cancer affects your family, it may not be something you would be aware of. Without awareness, there is no funding for more research and better treatment. Awareness can help families facing childhood cancer feel less alone. It also gives them more opportunities for their voices to be heard. Every person’s experience with cancer is important and should be heard. If you have experienced cancer or know someone who has, please feel free to share your/their story here! Sharing your story can inspire and be a resource to others who are newly diagnosed.
Researchers around the world have brilliant ideas to change the course of childhood cancer forever: smart medicines that target only the cancer and don’t poison the rest of the body, treatments personalized for each child’s unique genetic makeup (not a one size fits all), early detection and even prevention. But the only way to make this possible is to fund research – CLICK HERE TO DONATE
For the fighters, survivors, and angels… We will never stop fighting for you ❤