I'm rather certain that we've all heard about cancer and I'm also rather certain that we all know at least one child that we care about. Imagine those being that child that means so much to you getting cancer. Let's take this further and imagine losing that child that you care about because of the cancer.
My aunt was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. She's been fighting it for years. She's not losing the battle, but it's easy to see the toll that it's taken on her. The treatments are harsh and incredibly damaging to the body.
My grandma was diagnosed with cancer. The pain I saw her experience is something that I don't have the words to describe. I've had my tooth kicked out, jaw broken, arm fractured, ruptured disk, back surgery, cracked my head open, flu, etc. What I saw was all of that compressed into one and amplified. She seemed to be able to tolerate the pain until her first chemotherapy treatment. Within a month of her diagnoses, she was gone. She passed away just after Thanksgiving.
In adults, cancer has strong links to lifestyle choices and environment. Smoking and other tobacco products are obvious examples. Living somewhere with high radiation is another factor. In kids, cancer is more commonly linked to DNA changes that happen as they are growing. Unfortunately, the same chemotherapy treatments that took my adult relatives to their knees is still standard. Not all chemotherapy is the same, there is a wide array of drugs that can be injected.
Most research for chemicals is targeted toward adults. This leads most children to receive treatments meant for adults because they are the best option. It is, however, possible to develop chemicals targeted for children. This is why the St. Baldrick's Foundation struck an interest from me.
In the 1950s, almost all kids diagnosed with cancer died. Because of research, today about 85% of kids with the most common type of cancer will live. But for many other types, progress has been limited, and for some kids there is still little hope for a cure.
On March 13th, I will have my head shaved as part of a fundraiser. This isn't an awareness event. It exists to raise funds. Please, help me raise funds to search for cures in children.