I am a pediatric hematology/oncology/bone marrow transplant nurse. What this means is I take care of kids with all types of cancer, blood disorders, and children who have bone marrow transplants. It is the most emotionally draining work I’ve ever done but it is the most rewarding work I will ever do. Every day I am reminded how lucky I am because I am fortunate enough to have healthy children.
I have held the hands of parents who have been told their child has cancer. I have celebrated with patients for their last chemotherapy treatments. I have cried with them when they find out their cancer is back. I have held the bucket for sick kids as they go through preparation for their bone marrow transplants. I have been there when they are told they are a Survivor. I have been in the conference when the doctors tell parents there’s nothing else we can do. I have been at the bedside, holding a child’s hand, as they take their last breath. I have done all of this with the hope that one day we will find a cure for this horrible monster that is taking the most amazing people from this earth.
Tomorrow–Saturday, September 7–St Petersburg will be hosting the Tampa Bay Area CureSearch Walk. The CureSearch Walk celebrates and honors children whose lives have been affected by children’s cancer, while raising funds for the lifesaving research being conducted to find a cure. All Children’s Hospital, where I work, is just one of many hospitals that cares for children on research protocols.
Every day, 46 children are diagnosed with pediatric cancer–7 of those children will not survive. Cancer is the #1 cause of death by disease in children. Although the cure rate is now 78%–up by 30% in the last 20 years–it is not good enough. Our goal is a 100% cure rate. In over 20 years, only 2 cancer medications have been developed specifically for children. They are receiving adult drugs and the long term side effects of these drugs on children is not yet known. Children are not tiny adults. They need medications created especially for them.
You can help us reach our goal of a 100% cure rate. Please consider donating to this cause. We never dream of hearing the words “Your child has cancer” but, unfortunately, it can happen to any of us. Join a team. Come to the walk. Make a donation. If you can’t do any of those, consider making a donation or bringing a meal to your local Ronald McDonald House. Our families stay at Ronald McDonald Houses while their child is in the hospital. It’s their “home away from home.”
I pray that one day we will put an end to all pediatric cancers so our kids can be exactly that, kids. Until then, let’s raise awareness. Make it known that childhood cancers are under funded and under researched. Let’s wear gold in honor of the children fighting right now; in honor of the survivors; in honor of those who lost their fight. Let’s work together to find a cure.