I’m here to thank God for my girl.
Every single morning, the first thing I do is check on my daughter. She is usually still fast asleep, with her unruly blonde hair, her perfect pouty lips, her unblemished skin. She is breathing steadily, she is dreaming peacefully, sometimes she’s even smiling. She has allergies and asthma, but it it well controlled. She is a good, albeit PICKY eater, and she loves water and plain white milk (gross). She orders broccoli over french fries at a restaurant every. single. time. No joke. Whose kid does something like that?! She has lots of friends, gets amazing report cards, and has never had a bad conference from a teacher. She plays tennis and runs track and takes swim lessons and sculpts at clay class. She is sassy but sweet, she is outgoing but humble. And as her mama, I get the to have the amazing privilege of seeing her open her eyes, get ready for the day and take off to explore and live life without a care in the world. I get the chance to teach her right from wrong. I get to teach her fact from fiction. I get to be there to watch her take her own chances and make her own decisions and figure out how to recover from her own mistakes. I get to watch her grow every day and I don’t ever take it for granted.
Because not everyone in this world gets to do that. I count my blessings all the freaking time. I, myself, have already attended two funeral visitations for kids. That’s two too many. My best friend gave birth to her 31 week old daughter and then lost her after just 16 hours of life due to complications from a detachment of the placenta early on in her pregnancy. My other friend’s 10 year old daughter died immediately from a brain aneurysm that took her while she was hanging out at an after school program . Mamas and Daddies around the world have to experience the heart breaking pain of losing a child every day. I’m not even going to list all of the ways that this could happen. Hell, if you watch TV or read the news then you’ve already seen the evil that exists in this world. If you are a parent, then I’m sure you’ve thought of a hundred horrifying scenarios and then immediately pushed them out of your head. For example, you never imagine that when your child is vomiting and cranky and off-balance and not eating well that a doctor will send you home with a pediatric cancer diagnosis….
THIS is Donna. Daughter of Sheila who writes MARY TYLER MOM, one of the first and best blogs I have ever read. Donna. Also a daddy’s girl, a typical big sister, an adored granddaughter, niece and cousin. A dancer. A thinker. A free spirit with a great imagination. A preschooler. She was not even two years old yet when she got diagnosed with papillary meningioma, an aggressive brain tumor. If you have not read Donna’s Cancer Story on Mary Tyler Mom’s blog, I encourage you to do so by clicking here: http://www.chicagonow.com/mary-tyler-mom/2011/08/gold-is-the-new-pink/. My advice? Keep some tissue near you. The really soft kind with lotion, because you’ll probably use it A LOT. Donna and her family fought and triumphed and fought some more through 31 months of treatment. Donna is only here in spirit today. Donna died in between her parents when she was only four years, two months, four weeks, and one day old.
And Donna is just one of hundreds of kids that will be diagnosed with cancer in their life. *Did you know that before the age of 20, 1 in 300 boys and 1 in 333 girls will be diagnosed with cancer??? *Did you know that more US children will die from cancer than any other disease, or many other diseases, combined? *That 73% of kids who survive their cancer will have chronic health problems as a result of their treatment and 42% will suffer severe or life-threatening conditions like secondary cancers?!? And here’s the statistic that’s the most mind blowing to me: *worldwide, a child is diagnosed every three minutes.
Something needs to be done. Pediatric cancer research needs more funding. *All types of childhood cancers combined receive only 4% of U.S. federal funding for cancer research. So this month, I am going to do my part to get more money to the largest funder for this outside the US government: http://www.stbaldricks.org/. St. Baldrick’s Foundation was formed in 1999 by a group of insurance executives, and since that time they have granted over $100 million to researchers trying to find a cure for childhood cancer! They host Shave-A-Thon fundraising events all over the US, and on March 3oth this year I will be traveling to Chicago with my husband, my sister, her boyfriend and a bunch of my other friends to attend one! I am beyond excited to meet Mary Tyler Mom. (And also, Katy from I Want A Dumpster Baby who I did my charity in honor of last month!) And I hope you will help me by contributing $10 to this amazing cause. If you have an extra ten dollars in your account this minute, this week or this month, P*L*E*A*S*E consider visiting the donation page for Team My Sudden Attack of Shaved Hair at http://www.stbaldricks.org/teams/mypage/80683/2013 and click on the green DONATE button. *The event goal for last year was $20K and they raised $79K! This year the goal is set at $30K. The oldest shavee that will be attending is 89 years old (!) and she is doing it with her daughter, a returning shavee from last year. What a cool old lady! 🙂 Let’s help kick pediatric cancer’s ass. Let’s do it so that one day there will be no more mommies or daddies receiving a cancer diagnosis for their baby. So that one day grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends won’t have to have “playdates” on an oncology floor. So that one day people like Mary Tyler Mom and Mary Tyler Dad won’t have to parent their child by doing good things in their baby’s memory. LET’S HELP KICK PEDIATRIC CANCER’S ASS.
*All statistics and cancer facts provided by St. Baldrick’s Foundation at http://www.stbaldricks.org