I’ll never forget. I was in the 6th grade and our local US Representative called my name. I raised the most money for a hospital I didn’t know a lot about, but it helped kids and needed funding.
It was for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
This month is childhood cancer awareness month. I read too many CaringBridge pages from families battling this hideous disease. The stats, which I learned from reading a CaringBridge page from a mother missing her son, baffle the mind and break the heart.
She shared info from Cancer.org.
Here are some facts:
About 12,060 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Childhood cancer rates have been rising slightly for the past few decades.
Because of major treatment advances in recent decades, about 80% of children with cancer now survive 5 years or more (although this rate varies depending on the type of cancer). Overall, this is a huge increase from before the 1970s, when the 5-year survival rate was less than 50%. Survival rates for different cancer types are listed in the section, “Surviving childhood cancer.”
Despite its rarity and the major advances in treatment and supportive care, cancer is still the second leading cause of death in children younger than 15 years old (after accidents). About 1,340 children are expected to die from cancer in 2012.
Cancers in children often are hard to recognize right away because the symptoms can overlap with much more common illnesses or injuries. Children often get sick or have bumps or bruises that might mask the early signs of cancer. Parents should be sure that their children have regular medical check-ups and watch for any unusual signs or symptoms that do not go away. These include:
- An unusual lump or swelling
- Unexplained paleness and loss of energy
- Easy bruising
- An ongoing pain in one area of the body
- Unexplained fever or illness that doesn’t go away
- Frequent headaches, often with vomiting
- Sudden eye or vision changes
- Sudden unexplained weight loss
There are a lot of organizations that help families where a child is battling cancer. I wanted to put a spotlight on St. Jude. If only because I remember feeling like I made a difference that day.
What can you do to make a difference for families going through this dark valley?
images from St. Judes and pinmart.com