Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Ependymoma & Alexa
September is Childhood Awareness Month. It’s something that I wish we didn’t have to be aware of, but is something we absolutely need to be aware of.
For starters, I Googled “Childhood Awareness Month” and learned from the American Childhood Cancer Organization that, “In the U.S., almost 13,000 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year; approximately 1/4 of them will not survive the disease.”
I was in my fifties when I learned that I had cancer (melanoma) and, some years later, a brain tumor (meningioma). By that time I was able to have a normal childhood, go to college, get married, have children and enjoy a career.
Cancers like Ependymoma don’t give kids a chance to be kids, let alone do any of that other stuff. It forces them to think about their mortality and their limitations, instead of giving them a blank slate on which to write the stories of their dreams.
I visited the CERN (Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network) Foundation site and read some patient and caregiver stories. The three I read were ” Mother Diagnosed Never Gives Up,” “Zsila Overcomes Ependymoma and Gives Back,” and “Foundation Formed to Honor The Life of Alexa Rederer.” I liked these stories because not only were they heart-felt and honest, but because they also provided a real insight into what happens to Ependymoma victims. If you’re the type who gets emotional involved in reading life stories like this, be sure to have a box of tissues handy. Here’s the link: http://www.cern-foundation.org/Content.aspx?id=528
If you are moved by these stories, you might want to contribute to the CERN Foundation as their mission in life is to “…develop treatments for ependymoma thereby improving the outcomes & care of patients and ultimately leading to a cure.” You can do that here: http://www.cern-foundation.org/Content.aspx?id=1006
If you aren’t moved by these stories, check your pulse…because you might not have one.
PS – If you only read one of these, read about Alexa.