Saturday, 15 September 2012

I need to get serious for a minute.....

Something has been eating away at me for the past week. I started reading a blog about a mother who had lost her 3 year old son to neuroblastoma. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that the only blogs I really follow are the depressing as shit ones. I have no idea why, I usually spend my nights in front of my laptop, bawling my eyes out while catching up on all of them. It's a sickness really. But this blog was different...

I usually start new blogs by reading the first post, and catching up. I literally couldn't stop reading. I have never ever felt this way about a blog. I have never felt someone else's pain in my very soul, like a stomach ache that won't go away. At one point, while reading a post I was sobbing so loud that I woke up my husband. Which pretty much totally freaked him out. As I kept reading, I realized how little I know about childhood cancer. I mean, maybe it's an ignorance is bliss type deal. Like something you don't ever think can happen to you. But it can. The stats I was reading made me feel sick to my stomach. The more that I read this blog, the more I realized that I had taken the simplest things for granted. Like the luxury of tucking my kids in at night, or reading "just one more story" even though all you want to do is go to bed. Having a baby wake me up during the night didn't bother me as much, because some people's babies are no longer with them, and they would give anything for a sleepless night like I had. I started looking at everything differently. And then I felt ashamed, and guilty. Because it shouldn't take someone else losing their child, and sharing their wounds, raw, and real with the world, just for me to realize how amazing my life is. I should already know.

Suddenly the fact that my kids sleep in my bed every night, didn't seem like that big of a deal. The fact that we couldn't afford to go away for the weekend, seemed like a ridiculous thing to be upset about. And why on Earth did it take me reading about a mother's pain and anguish, to see all of this? I think it's because we all live in a bubble. We go about our lives, and we take things for granted everyday. We get frustrated with our children for doing things that kids do. We work too much, we drink too much, we don't laugh enough, and sometimes we don't love enough. I know I've been guilty of this. Juice gets spilled on the carpet, I'm upset. Why? It'll come out, and even if it doesn't....who cares?? The fact is, our kids are growing up before our eyes, and if you're like me, you may have blinked, and years have flown by. And knowing that there are so many parents losing their babies everyday to a disease that sucks the life right out of them, almost tears my heart out.

I'm going to leave you with some facts, and statistics. They aren't pretty, so you've been warned. And I urge you, if you do nothing else after you read this, please at least read about childhood cancer, educate yourself. You may think there's nothing you can do, I feel that way sometimes too. But it's not true, there is ALWAYS something that can be done, even if that something is just sharing your knowledge with other people.

  • There are about 10,000 children living with cancer in Canada today.
  • Each year, about 1500 cases are diagnosed
  • Because of significant advances in therapy, 78% of these children will survive 5 years or more, an increase of almost 46% since the early 1960s.
  • More than 70 percent of children diagnosed with cancer become long-term survivors and the majority of them are considered cured. However, long-term effects of surviving the treatments for childhood cancer can affect these children's futures.
  • In the early 1950s, less than 10 percent of childhood cancer patients could be cured.
  • Leukemias, tumors of the brain and nervous system, the lymphatic system, kidneys, bones and muscles are the most common childhood cancers.
  • In Canada, childhood cancer remains responsible for more deaths from one year through adolescence than any other disease; more deaths than asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and AIDS combined.
  • Childhood cancers have close to a 75% cure rate, with leukemia leading the success charge with close to 90% overall cure rate.
  • About one in four children who are diagnosed with cancer will die of the disease.
  • With a mortality rate of close to 25%, Canada loses tens of thousands of years of potential life each year to childhood cancer. In terms of potential life saved, childhood cancer rank second only to breast cancer.
  • Childhood cancers differ from adult cancers. Adults are most affected by breast, lung, prostate, bowel and bladder cancers. Children are most affected by acute leukemia, tumours of the brain and nervous system, the lymphatic system, kidneys, bones and muscles.
  • Leukemia is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in children, comprising some 30% of the total new cases diagnosed each year. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common form and comprises about 75% of these cases. Peak incidence is at two to three years of age, with boys 20% more likely to contract the disease. Survival rate is now 95%, with a 30% relapse rate.
  • Lymphomas and cancers of the central nervous system are the second most diagnosed children's cancer, at 17% of total cancers diagnosed.
  • Sarcomas, or cancers of the muscles, bones, nerves, fat, blood or connective tissue are next at 12%, with boys 25-30% more likely to contract this form of cancer.
  • Neuroblastomas, which represent 95% of tumors in the sympathetic nervous system, represent 5% of all childhood cancers.

  • Funding
    There are 15 children diagnosed with cancer for every ONE child diagnosed with pediatric AIDS. Yet, the U.S. invests approximately $595,000 for research per victim of pediatric AIDS and only $20,000 for each victim of childhood cancer.
    The government recently CUT the budget for Childhood Cancer research. As a nation, we spend $14 BILLION per year on the space program, but only $35 MILLION on childhood cancer research per year.
    Pediatric cancer research does not receive nearly as much funding as adult cancer research projects. Rhabdoid research dollars are scarce as most money is diverted to well-publicized adult forms of cancer.
    Although the large, broad cancer organizations do great things, very little of their resources go to Pediatric Cancer Research. The American Cancer Society provides only 1.85% of dollars spent on research, to be spread over all 12 types of childhood cancers.
    If you had donated $100 to Relay for Life hoping to show your support for the child honorary chairpersons, $12.50 would have gone to research adult cancers while only 70 cents would have gone to childhood cancer research. How much of that 70 cents would be for Rhabdoid research? NONE!
    The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) federal budget was $4.6 BILLION. Of that breast cancer received 12%, prostate cancer received 7% and only 3% of goes toward Pediatric Cancer research. Thats 3% of ALL kinds of Pediatric Cancers combined!
    The American Cancer Society spends less than 70 cents for each 100 dollars raised on childhood cancer.
    Pharmaceutical companies fund over 50% of adult cancer research, but virtually nothing for kids.
    Even with insurance coverage, a family will have out-of-pocket expenses of about $40,000 per year, not including travel.
    An estimated 80 million people have health insurance insufficient to cover the costs of a catastrophic illness such as childhood cancer. It is estimated that as many as 50% of families with children battling cancer will be forced to file bankruptcy!

    I couldn't find the facts for the funding of childhood cancer in Canada, but I'm sure it's about the same. It's time for a change. Help give these babies a voice. We can make a difference!

    Here is a link to the blog I have been reading.


    No comments:

    Post a Comment