As September comes to a close, we turn the chapter on another Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. It always makes me wonder if our goal of spreading awareness and making a difference was successful for our children, the pediatric cancer community, the childhood cancer medical experts and facilities. I have no tool to gather quantitative results, nor do I have the connections to take a true consensus.
Visually, I've seen lots of awareness spreading. There have been blog posts, TV news stories, radio telethons, newspaper articles, gold ribbons, pictures displaying the sad statistics and, of course, new law making. It’s been a busy month. The army I proudly stand beside on this journey has been tireless. I love hearing their voices. Their loud, strong, passionate voices. We stand untied. We strive to raise awareness. Awareness is the key.
Our universal motto in the pediatric community is:
Awareness = Funding = Research = Cure
I am so proud of the work I do with Atia’s Project Ladybug Fund, a charity dedicated to easing the struggles of childhood cancer. We’ve implemented amazing support programs at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital: Emergency Funding, Ladybug Baskets, Ladybug Lunches and Ladybug Love for the Holidays.
These days, we focus primarily on the psycho-social needs of cancer treatment, while occasionally funding hospital improvement projects like a complete kitchen remodel on the pediatric cancer floor and donating new medical-grade recliner chairs for the isolations rooms.
As our nonprofit organization grows, our help will grow. We’ll have more money to allocate to things like childhood cancer research, which is a top priority to me. As federal funding is inevitably declining and other large cancer organizations only donate a half penny for every dollar raised, pediatric cancer research is in dire need of additional dollars.
So, where is that going to come from? Well, my hope is that it starts with us. You and me. That’s why I worked so hard to get the Childhood Cancer Research Fund added to the 2012 IL State Tax form, and guess what?!? My efforts paid off.
On August 27th IL Governor Pat Quinn signed the Childhood Cancer Research Fund check box into law. What an incredible victory! It was cause for celebration and turned out to be quite newsworthy. Within days the news was broadcast in the paper (SF Chronicle and Chicago Tribune, to name a few), on the radio (B96's coverage) and on TV in an interview I gave in Springfield, IL, which I was so proud of and shocked when it ran as the Top Story. It was a true Media Trifecta!
So while I may not have my finger on the pulse of every fundraiser, improvement or research breakthrough that may have happened this month, I know what I did to contribute… and this year, I know I did the best that I could do. And that feels good. I can't cure kids of cancer. I can't even treat them for cancer. There's very little I can do, but talking and talking and talking - Yes! That's something I can do.
Wanna do your part? Simply share this post and you’ll help spread awareness. Easy breezy and for that, you can walk around feeling good today!
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