If you clicked open my blog today to read about my usual topic - pet advocacy - you're getting a very different blog. Why? Today is Donna Day! Before I blogged for ChicagoNow I often read the wonderful blog by Mary Tyler Mom who so eloquently writes about losing her daughter Donna to cancer at the age of four. MTM writes about a lot of other topics too. But the Donna posts stick with me for a long time. I've cried through Donna's story and other posts for Pediatric Cancer Month when parents relive their worst nightmare to get the word out.
I've never lost a child to cancer. I can't even begin to imagine hearing the news and heading down that highway not knowing what will happen after all the pain and sickness your child will go through to rid them of cancer. I've gotten to know Mary Tyler Mom through our ChicagoNow bloggers group. She is an amazing person and an inspiration. Today she is inspiring me to celebrate her beautiful little girl Donna with Donna Day 2014.
For Donna Day, a lot of Mary Tyler Mom's fellow ChicagoNow bloggers like me, fellow mommy bloggers from other sectors and bloggers that focus on cancer education are all joining together to talk about Childhood cancers and what you can do to help.
One of MTM's favorite phrases is that blogging works. So today, we're raising our collective blogging voices for Donna. If Mary Tyler Mom's one blog can reach so many people, we hope by lending our blogs to Donna's story we'll reach so many more.
Donna's Good Things
After Donna's death, MTM formed Donna's Good Things, a non-profit that provides opportunities for kids facing adversity. In the past two years, Donna's Good Things has raised over $195,000 for St. Baldrick's Foundation to help fund childhood cancer research.
This fundraising is so important because St. Baldrick's is the largest fundraiser for childhood cancer research after the federal government. For adults, 60 percent of funding comes from pharmaceutical companies. The profit margin isn't there for pediatric cancers. So, the research dollars aren't coming from big pharma.
Here are a few quick facts about kid's cancers according to the St. Baldrick's Foundation -
- Cancer kills more children in the U.S. than any other disease...more than the combination of most other childhood diseases.
- An estimated 1 in 300 boys and 1 in 333 girls will be diagnosed with cancer before they turn 20.
- Worldwide, a child is diagnosed every 3 minutes.
- In the 1950s, almost all kids diagnosed with cancer died. Thanks to research, around 85 % of kids diagnosed with the common type of cancer (leukemia) will live. Progress has been limited for most other cancers with little hope for cure.
- Today, there are over 350,000 survivors of childhood cancer in the United States, representing approximately 1 in 570 young adults. Another 16,500 children will be diagnosed with some form of childhood cancer this year.
- Modern treatments can have long-term consequences. Over 60% of long-term childhood cancer survivors have a chronic illness as a consequence of the therapy they received, and over 25% have a severe or life-threatening illness.
How can you help? While today is Donna Day, the big day for Donna's Good Things is March 29th - the St. Baldrick's Foundation Event at 7452 North Western at the Candlelight. You can support a participant or a team by making a donation to St. Baldrick's on the event page. Or, you can be really brave and sign up to have your head shaved or create a team raising your own funds for childhood cancer research. In case you're not familiar with St. Baldricks, the organization holds head-shaving events to raise funds for childhood cancer research.
Another way to help is to order one of these super cool super hero shirts through Friday. Funds go to St. Baldrick's and will be credited to Donna's Good Things. Sizes are for women and kids...it's a good way to donate and look good after doing it.
So for just one day, I'd love it if you could pitch in for my friend Sheila - Mary Tyler Mom - in memory of her beautiful daughter Donna and help out in one way or another in the fight against childhood cancers. Please share to pass along the word about Donna Day.
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