Wife to my high school sweetheart, boy mama to sweet baby boy Macrae, and two fur babies Shiloh and Milo, a full time high school history teacher, and overall enthusiast for life. Avid podcast listener, iced coffee drinker, and organized chaos manager. My passion is to encourage and inspire. To cultivate an intentional life, a life full of joy and an abundance of grace.
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This post has been a long time coming. Something that I have wanted to put in words for awhile now. Something that I am scared to write out for fears of being the most honest and real. Afraid of confronting all my emotions of things that I have covered up deep within. This post is necessary. Hard, but necessary. Yet, for so many others this is harder. And my disclaimer is to not distract from hardship, but to encourage MORE. To inspire and to challenge MORE. MORE people, doing MORE to go Beyond the Care, For the Cure! This post is for you, all of you who have dealt with or will deal with the pains and fears and the reality of childhood cancer. Yes. I spoke the double-C word. And it’s time you start speaking it too. But more than that, go beyond the care and fight for the cure! Because it’s more than our duty, more than our responsibility, but a necessity if we all hope to continue to live in this world we are living in, free from sickness, disease, and pain.
Every single day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer.
That is 43 families, every day whose lives completely change and get turned upside down.
And approximately, 15,300 kids each year will hear the words that they have the C word.
So, add to that, 15,300 families, every single year whose life as they once knew it will never be the same.
So what, you may say, that’s not me, that’s them. Well, to be completely honest and blunt with you, it very well could be you!
I remember a moment so clearly from last fall. It was a weekday, I was on the way home from work and I stopped at a local Chinese restaurant and was waiting to pick up my call-ahead order. I was sitting down in a chair, piddling on my phone and overhead a conversation between a dad and his young son, who had to be roughly 7 or 8.
The kid looked up to see a St. Jude’s poster and asked what was wrong with the kid, since he was bald on the poster.
The dad quickly muttered something along the lines of the kid was sick, had cancer, and then told his son, not to worry that he wouldn’t get cancer.
I heard this and immediately was appalled by the ignorance seen. Trust me, I get the fact that you want to speak life and encouragement, but unfortunately, the world we live in is one that is full of TOO MUCH sickness, disease & death. And I get that is life, but cancer, cancer is not it. Especially childhood cancer. There is no place for childhood cancer on this earth.
Yet, too many people live a life with a mentality that it can’t be them, no no way. I won’t deal with this type of reality, until it becomes the reality, the only reality you will then ever known.
Yet, the sad reality is that only 4% of federal funding that is spent on cancer research & treatment is towards childhood cancer.
We have to do more than 4%.
We have to.
Trust me, I understand that no one wants to hear the word Cancer. No one.
My dad is a 27 year cancer survivor. My sweet Mimi, passed away after a ten-year battle to cancer earlier this year.Cancer at any age is a problem.
But for 4% of funding to go towards childhood cancer, we have to do more to invest in the future.
It all became real for me that February afternoon at track practice. We knew something was off when the workout ended early, as our head coach sat us down, on the curb of Holly Brook road and explained to us that Amanda, our teammate was diagnosed with cancer.
And then just over 14 months later, her battle would end with a victory in Heaven. And leave so many broken hearts here on earth.
I thought that my personal journey with cancer would end here. Fast forward to freshmen year in college. A friend that Amanda had met while in treatment at Children’s in Atlanta and I connected and closely became friends. And Laura, was everything. Life, joy, abundance. All of these things from a girl who had been battling bone cancer since her freshmen year of high school.
A three-year relationship that defied norms for friendships and proved to me that friendships, faith, and joy were all very real and possible, ended in heartbreak and defeat on earth, yet victory in heaven.
And dealing with Laura’s death was heavy. Something that I honestly believe is still buried deep within me, not fully processed or healed from!
Well, fast forward nine years from the time we track girls sat on the curb, defeated and confused as to why our teammate was struck with the C word. One of those girls who sat with us that day, an extremely close friend of mine, a fellow teacher, runner, and coach, well fast forward nine years and her daughter was diagnosed with cancer. At 9 months old. 9 months old. This was a post I wrote a few days after Hattie’s diagnosis a little over a year ago.
Fortunately, Hattie is doing better currently, however still has to deal with powerful maintenance chemo and the side effects of enduring such powerful treatment at such a young age.
And her sweet parents, will never know the old feeling of normal again.
These are just three stories, yet there are more.
15,300 more stories written every year. And there will only be more additionally, if we don’t do something about it.
And that means go beyond the care and go for the cure!
Amanda’s mother, one of the strongest humans I have ever met, has worked endlessly in the year’s after Amanda’s death, nearly ten years ago, to be sure that families in the same situation are taken care of. The Amanda Riley Foundation brings meals to the hospital, provides care packages, mother and father night outs, and all the love that can be be bought to try and make things a little easier for those patients and their families going through the unthinkable. I love the mission behind the Amanda Riley foundation – to bring a smile to those going through literal hell. From awareness, to direct patient support and money raised for research, the Amanda Riley Foundation does remarkable things. To find out more about the Amanda Riley Foundation and to make a donation click here!
Cure Childhood Cancer works passionately and purposefully to try to do more than the 4% of funding that our government provides towards childhood cancer. Donations to Cure Childhood Cancer go directly to research that focuses on kids, as well as providing direct services and supports for families of those undergoing treatment. You can learn more about Cure Childhood Cancer and make a donation here!
Support those businesses that commit to making life better for those dealing with the reality of cancer everyday. Headbands of Hopes gives one headband to a child with cancer for every item sold. You can purchase your headband here!
Way too many sources and evidence have pointed to large companies and products that we all have in our homes (and use on the daily) linking to causing cancer. We absolutely can do a part in helping make sure the products we use and the foods that we put in our body are not just healthy, but clean. Clean, free from any and all toxins. I am thankful that making the switch to Young Living can help in the process of eliminating those awful toxins.
Yes, awareness is great. But, we live in a fast-paced world that needs action to support the awareness. We need to have actions that align with our words. Actions that make words have impact!
Because we need more than just prayers. we need change. we need a culture shift. a lifestyle revolution. where people stop living lives that are full of ignorance in the belief that it can't or won't happen to them. We need to love and serve others recklessly and endlessly until the day that no one feels the pain from cancer, from sickness, from disease. And it's on that day that we can then rejoice. It's on that day that we can stop the fight. But, until then we battle. Battle for our community. For strangers. and for the world.Gracefulandfree. Tweet
Thank you Headbands of Hope for providing me a headband and encouraging me to go for it and share this post that I have been sitting on for years! Please, understand my heart goes out to all the families that are dealing with the heartbreak, confusion, and fear of living each day with cancer. I understand that it is a real deal, my heart is to not take away from anyone’s pain, yet to encourage ways to support those in the fight. I am so excited to contribute and support the non-profits and organizations listed above and cannot wait to register as a Bone Marrow donor through Be the Match.
Cancer is real, but so are people. And people, especially the young ones deserve all of life in full abundance. Dreaming and believing for the day where we can all celebrate cancer with a cure, but until then we have to do more than just care, we have to do are part in going beyond, for the cure!