Now, let me just start by saying, that I do not know Mary Tyler Mom personally (shoot.), nor did I follow her particular story until recently. It just so happens though, that I know a few stories of my own, and they aren't all that different from MTM's.
Donna's Cancer Story here. This beautiful little girl is the reason so many of us are advocating today. And she's not alone. Did you know that on average, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL DAY? And out of those 46, 7 lose their battle. This number is unacceptable. It should be ZERO.
What can you do to help? Well....you've come to the right lady. I just happen to know a few excellent non profit organizations that you can donate to, and SURPRISE, your money ACTUALLY helps pediatric cancer.
1. St. Baldricks- This is a fabulous organization. They focus on the research aspect of pediatric cancer. According to their 2012 financial report (this is a MUST to check out if you are looking to start supporting a non profit agency.) 82% of their revenue went towards pediatric cancer research!!!! That is AMAZING. 82 cents out of every dollar your give them goes straight towards finding a cure. There's also a little spin off of St. Baldricks that is VERY near and dear to my heart....that comes next.
2. 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave- Let me tell you something. If these women don't make you proud, no one will. 46 Mommas stand together every single year, raising money and awareness, by shaving their heads. These aren't any regular mommas either. They are cancer mommas. Their children are fighting, or have fought cancer. I am EXTREMELY lucky to have known a few of these women, and they are awe inspiring. I have a close friend who is one of the 46 this year, and in the coming months, prepare for me to assult you with her information.
3. CureSearch- This is also an excellent organization to donate to. They are also focused on the research aspect. They hold annual walks (look for it in your area, they are a blast!) as well, lots of fun, and a great way to get involved!
4. The Jessie Rees Foundation (NEGU)- This organization is a little different from the ones I posted previously. The NEGU foundation (Never Ever Give Up) focuses on helping cancer patients and families during treatment. They help with transportation costs, shelter, etc. They also send out JoyJars. These are amazing little packages that go our to our fighters, to bring a smile to their face. I absolutely love this foundation. I followed Jessie's story from diagnosis, and she was such an amazing fighter, and her family is now fighting for all children in her memory.
5. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital-This Memphis, TN based hospital is one of a kind. No one is turned away, no matter what. They do ground breaking research on pediatric cancer, they are committed to saving our children. Donating to them may actually mean the difference between life and death for a child.
Okay, now that you know HOW you can help, here's WHY you should.
Imagine taking your child to the doctor for strange bruising, a cold that won't go away, or a little jaundice, and hearing those words. You know the ones. "Your child has cancer." This will change your ENTIRE life in just one second. You will go from a life of semi normalcy, to hospitals, and chemo and radiation and drugs and sickness, and baldness. Emotions are everywhere, you don't know where to turn for help, you don't know if you can handle doing this. Now, I've never personally gone through this journey with any of my children, but I was close with a family that did. It changes you, even as an onlooker. I never used to have much of an opinion about this subject either way, until I met Kadie. My local followers will know who I'm talking about, and for those of you who don't, Kadie was the reason so many people in my community changed their ways. We fundraised for her and her family, we spent time helping, and praying, and hoping. Kadie was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma at 18 months old. She fought SO HARD for the next 2 1/2 years. She went into remission once, only for that nasty devil to come back, with a vengeance. Her family, and many in our community did whatever we could to help. There just weren't any more options. She passed away on August 13th, 2011. There is a foundation being set up in her name, For the Love of Kadie, check if out. On a personal level, this little girl opened my eyes to the world of Childhood cancer, and she is the reason I fight. I don't want to see ONE MORE CHILD go through what she did. She was, and still is, an inspiration to me. At 4 years old, she knew more than I would ever know, and she fought harder than I ever have. She did it so beautifully, to top it off. There was always a smile on her face, even when her hair was falling out, and she couldn't hold her food down, or she had so much pain a normal person would break.
Here's the thing though......you don't NEED a personal story like this to fight. Do it because it COULD BE YOUR CHILD. You may be the next one to have a story. Wouldn't you like to start helping NOW, so that if it were to happen to you, it doesn't end like so many others? We need to find a cure for pediatric cancer. These kids are our future, and without them, we don't have one.
AWARENESS=FUNDING=RESEARCH=CURE. Learn it. Live it. Do something today to help. Even if it's just sharing this blog post. Awareness is the first step. The most important step. Look at your child. Then do something about it.