Most of you have probably noticed that I haven’t written in a long time.
School started. It’s September and my schedule is nuts. NUTS. I have all my classes so far, but we will see about that… I feel so uncertain.
September also means that it’s childhood cancer awareness month. Did you know that kids get cancer? It occurs more often than you think it does!
Here are some facts:
* Every year there are approx. 263,000 new cases of cancer that affect children under 20, that is 720 new kids every day!
* EVERY DAY approx. 250 children DIE from cancer!
* 91,250 loose their life to the disease every year!
* Childhood cancer is the LEADING cause of death by disease in children under 15 in the US!
* One in 330 children will be diagnosed with cancer by the time they are 20!
* Less then 5% of the Federal gov. total funding for cancer research is dedicated to Childhood Cancers each year! (That is crazy)
* Despite the facts childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded! (thank you for these facts, Mrs Sherri).
I want to go ahead and update you all on Ciera. If you have followed my blog all year, you know a close friend of mine relapsed with B-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma Disease in April (hopefully I got that right, Ciera?) Since I’ve last written, she’s undergone several rounds of chemo and has now gained remission, so she was going to go ahead to Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT).
But then she got a cold. She was in isolation.
And that cold lasted for forever. (well, it felt like forever… especially since isolation without a kitchen and all your friends and family is… daunting and boring!)…. While she was in Isolation my mom and I went to visit her for a really, really short time. However, it was amazing.
Then a little later her shoulders started hurting really badly. She has AVN in her shoulders. They have collapsed and shards of bone are falling from her shoulders into her joints. She needs Bilateral shoulder replacements… but for now painkillers and sleepless nights will have to do.
Then she contracted a blood infection and went inpatient for a couple of days and just got out this week.
Today found that she no longer has a cold!! SO SHE’S GETTING OUT OF ISO!! yayay!!
Despite this… Ciera has a tender heart. She also has a fighter’s heart! Her positivity and smile remains and lights up every room she enters- despite her pain. She text me the other day “Pray for Hope*, she has AML and is in the hospital room behind me. She just went home last month done with treatment and has now completely relapsed…” (paraphrased). My heart went out to Hope. My heart went out to Ciera. And I praised God for Ciera’s compassion. For her strength and her amazing selflessness.
Since C has gotten out from Isolation and now back in Target house, I’m not really sure of the plan from here. I know whatever it is, it will be amazing. Ciera has a fighter’s heart and God has just been amazing through this whole journey! He’s been so faithful!
I’m telling you all of this so you can pray and so you can understand. Just a little:
We hear of so many success stories from St Jude. We hear how St Jude changes lives. We watch TV and see St Jude commercials of little bald kids dancing on the screen… and we’re clueless.
We’re so totally clueless!! We’re clueless of the fight that cancer takes! It can rip families apart and leave them separated (physically) for months upon MONTHS! Sometimes families are separated accross continents! Cancer’s fight can sap strength, it can build courage, it can do so many things that I don’t even know how to list.. and I’ve only experienced a drop. Indirectly. Sort of.
The other day I was driving down the road and picked up my phone thinking oh my goodness! I have a day off, let’s see what Ciera’s doing! Maybe we can do homework at… And I stopped. I totally stopped. And my heart hurt. This has happened several times since April.
Then I think this:
This is how it is for thousands of PARENTS of children. But worse. For their siblings, for their friends, their teachers, their grandparents, their cousins, aunts, uncles… hundreds and hundreds of people affected.
we have no clue. We cannot imagine. ever.
Did you know that Chemo is an ADULT drug? Did you know that children are not adults?! (sorry for stating the obvious, but seriously!) The battle that it takes to fight and fight and fight for YEARS is one that I cannot ever understand.
But I can try. For a day. For a minute… for a second.
So can you.
Are you willing to be aware with me during this month?
I’ll be running another half marathon in December. I’m signed up but there was a glitch in the paperwork that i’m having sorted out. Once that’s sorted, i’ll have a link where you guys can donate to the Fight Like Ciera team. Thanks to St Jude… families who are separated and struggling don’t have to struggle financially to pay for funds at St Jude… They never receive a bill. I’m hoping when I post my link that you all remember the impact that childhood cancer has and donate to a cause that is so close to home… more than any of us even know.
Because it can happen to you.
*name change to protect privacy