September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
In the U.S., 15,780 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year; approximately 1/4 of them will not survive the disease. (American Childhood Cancer Association) While amazing strides have been made in research and survivorship, there is still much work to be done. The survival rate for cancers such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia has risen dramatically thanks to a push for research. “Improved treatments introduced beginning in the 1960s and 1970s raised the 5-year survival rate for children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia before age 20 years from less than 10% in the 1960s to about 88% in 2007–2013” (National Cancer Institute) Unfortunately, there is still a low survival rate for some childhood cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute: “despite the overall decrease in mortality, approximately 1,800 children die of cancer each year in the United States, indicating that new advances and continued research to identify effective treatments are required to further reduce childhood cancer mortality.” Even with these statistics showing the power of research children’s cancers only receive only 4% of federal funding (St. Baldrick’s Foundation). The stakes are incredibly high and every dollar of funding counts towards helping find a cure.
How Can I Help?
- Donate to pediatric hospitals! The Children’s Miracle Network helps children’s hospitals raise awareness and receive money for research. My family’s personal fave is Miracle Treat Day at Dairy Queen, where every blizzard purchased has money go to the Children’s Miracle Network.
- Give blood! This helps children in treatment recover faster.
- Raising awareness through your social media profiles by using a gold ribbon which is the universal symbol for pediatric cancer. If people ask what you mean by it, let them know and direct them to places they can help!
- Write to your legislators! They have the power to change where federal funding goes. Let them know you are concerned about the lack of funding for pediatric cancer and you want them to allocate more money for it.
- Find reputable charities and donate money and time. There are several events you can help sponsor and places you can donate. Here are some suggestions: American Childhood Cancer Association, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities (this is for the entire family while a child is in the hospital. They do amazing work!), and the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation to name a few. Make sure you check sites like Charity Navigator to make sure your money is being spent wisely.
Working for a Better Future!
Anything you are doing to help, bettering a child’s quality of life or helping the family of a child with cancer, is amazing. Basically, this is a complex problem that will not have an easy answer or one that won’t take a lot of time and money to fix. However, by being aware and helping those that need it the most you are making a difference. Please take time to donate your time, money, and energy, towards this cause. It’s incredibly worthwhile and makes a world of difference. Do you have any charities you like to support? Please let us know in the comments!