Image courtesy of patient family
I've met some of the best people through some of the most unfortunate set of circumstances: childhood cancer. The common-bond of the relationships are all geared towards the cancer fight. The fight for your child. The fight for quality care. The fight for survival. The question us parents ask ourselves on a daily basis is where do we fight? Where do we take a stand?
Roughly 3,100 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with leukemia every year, one type being Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). ALL is a fast-growing cancer of lymphocyte-forming cells called lymphoblast, which dramatically suppress the immune system's ability to heal itself.
Looking back on that fateful day in August 2010, my youngest daughter, Taylor, was diagnosed with Pre-B cell (ALL) at 4-and-a-half years of age. Upon her diagnosis, the leukemia had spread to roughly 90 percent of her body. Over the course of the next 28 months (the typical treatment protocol is six to eight months), she prevailed over every challenge, setback, hair loss, chemotherapy complication, surgery and frequent emergency room visits.
In December 2012, two-and-a-half years after diagnosis, Taylor’s cancer was in remission, and in July 2016 she completed her final hospital clinic visit, confirming she remains in remission to this day! Throughout the difficulties, trials and setbacks experienced in having a child fighting a cancer diagnosis, one admirable theme that Taylor carried in her attitude daily was: “You never know how STRONG you are, until being Strong is the only choice you have.”
It's a bit difficult to determine how much in any given year is spent on childhood cancer research, but according to the National Cancer Institute, they spent only 4 percent of their budget in this area, compared to almost seven times that amount on breast cancer research. In fact, the funding for pediatric cancer trials has gone down every year since 2003.
No parent should ever have to go through the experience and trials of having a child with cancer, of any type. Our precious resources are our children, and our will to fight should never be stronger, never waiver under the relentless, and at times, unseen pressures that want to lay us low. It's about knowing where to pick your battles, and standing proud in taking a stand.
Help us support Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands Cancer Center by joining us for an evening of Karaoke & Cocktails for a cause on Nov. 29. To purchase tickets visit www.karaokeandcocktailsforacause.eventbrite.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-443-6420.