I don’t know if you are like me, but sometimes I feel like everything is going wrong. I am running behind, projects for school are piling up, and my hair, well its just not cooperating. But, in the big scheme of things, does this all matter? I am learning just how precious life is and how those things I thought mattered, really don’t in the scheme of things. Learning about children with cancer, makes me want to hug my family, boyfriend, and friends just a little tighter, and focus on the good things in life. None of us are given a guarantee of how much time we have on this earth.
While volunteering with the Children’s Miracle Network in Sioux Falls, SD, I learned about the little warriors in our community. Such precious children, full of life. It broke my heart to hear all they go through on a daily basis. It was almost too much to bear. Many days I found myself crying in the office, wondering why such a horrible thing had to happen to these precious children. During the radiothon, a little girl name Jordyn shared her story. I watched as her and her mom smiled and laughed, even with all the terrible things going on in their life, they smiled. Watching them interact, I thought of my mom and I. We are close and love to have fun and be silly. That could have easily been us. Like any sad story, I compartmentalize it and move on. Some things are just to hard to bear, right?
I happened to find Jordyn’s Facebook page recently. My heart broke as I read her mom poor out her pain and grief. The prognosis is grim. But, all I can see and read is a woman of grace and faith. She relies on the love of her family and the support of her loving Savior. I think to myself, how could I go through something like this? Would I be able to cling to my faith? What an example of faith and strength. God has truly used Jordyn and her family to impact the lives of others. They have inspired me to learn more about childhood cancers and stand up for childhood cancer patients.
Last week, my professor asked us to find a topic we would like to research. I had no idea what I was going to research. After reading Jordyn’s Facebook page and many other Facebook pages of children with cancer, I decided to research childhood cancer. But, I was not prepared to read and learn about what is happening in the lives of these children. I was angered to read that there has only been 1 cancer drug developed exclusively for children in the past 20 years. Children are given watered-down versions of adult drugs. They are given medication that wasn’t made for their little bodies. Nearly, 60 percent of funding for adult cancer drugs is provided by pharmaceuticals, while nearly none is given to fund research for childhood cancers. Does this make any sense? I am not very knowledgeable in medical things, but this doesn’t sound right.
Cancer at any age is devastating, but childhood cancer is unimaginably devastating. According to St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the average age of diagnosis for children is age 6. And the average number of years lost to cancer is 71 years. While adults, lose an average of 15 years of life. These precious children miss out on their whole lives. Why aren’t they given a fighting chance?
For my class, I am going to do so more research. But, by the way I feel right now about the issue, I want to march into the pharmaceutical companies offices and tell them they need to do something about this!