Donna Day: Raising awareness and money to fund childhood cancer research

Donna Day: Raising awareness and money to fund childhood cancer research

When I started writing Tween Us, I had no idea that was fortunate enough to become a part of an amazing community of bloggers who make up ChicagoNow. One of those bloggers is the incredible Mary Tyler Mom. I'm looking forward to being a part of Listen to Your Mother with her in a few months, but before then, she's busy promoting awareness of childhood cancer and raising money to support the research in hopes that one day no child will have to fight cancer as hers did. And to that end, today is Donna Day.

In honor of her daughter, Donna, today is Donna Day to raise awareness for St. Baldrick's, the largest private funder of research for pediatric cancer. This is one of many blog posts on ChicagoNow and beyond in honor of Donna and Donna Day.

Donna's Cancer Story is a blog series of 32 posts telling Donna's individual story with cancer during her 31 months of treatment. It's incredible and heartbreaking, and through it you get to know Mary Tyler Mom's amazing girl, Donna, who died in 2009 at age four. She is among the many impacted by childhood cancer. Far, far too many. Here are some startling statistics:

Donna 18

Donna

  • More US children will die from cancer than any other disease, or many other diseases combined;
  • Before the age of 20, 1 in 300 boys and 1 in 333 girls will be diagnosed with cancer;
  • worldwide, a child is diagnosed every three minutes;
  • the cure rate for the most common form of pediatric cancer, ALL leukemia, is as high as 90%, but most other childhood cancers do not have that success rate, e.g., brain tumors have a 50/50 cure rate, and some, like DIPG, are known to be fatal with no known treatment or cure;
  • 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.

Donna's parents have started Donna's Good Things because they "believe that the best way to honor and remember a person who has died is to do good works in their name." Their motto is "Choose Hope." I love that.

Donna's Good Things is having a team participate in the St. Baldrick's event during which people volunteer to shave their heads to raise money to fund research in hopes that one day no child will have to fight cancer. The event will take place on Saturday, March 30 in Chicago. Here's the link to their team page  and you can donate to the team using the GREEN donate button. Or you can spread the word and if you're doing so on Twitter, use #conquerkidscancer and #donnaday.

On this Donna Day, I'll be thinking of Donna and her mom and other families facing childhood cancer. I'll be choosing hope.

Here's a video on the need for better funding for childhood cancer:

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