September is Dedicated to Raising Awareness of Childhood Cancer

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, created to make us aware that for every child who is diagnosed with the disease, there is a story that will break your heart and at the same time give you hope.

One such story of heartbreak and hope involves a stretch of interstate highway, here in Northeast Ohio, where as if on cue, a sea of sunflowers burst forth to welcome September and honor Maria McNamara, who died of a rare brain cancer at the age of seven.
 
Maria’s parents and friends planted the sunflower seeds in an empty field, near a billboard with her picture and a message that said, “Planting Hope.” They were hoping a few would bloom in time for September. As August came to a close, thousands of sunflowers sprang up in a farmer’s field, spanning a mile-long stretch of I-90, greeting an estimated 90,000 travelers each day, in memory of a little girl who, in the midst of her illness and challenges, prayed for other children. Read Maria’s story here.

sunflowers

In 2008, when Sept. 13th was designated as Childhood Cancer Awareness Day in a resolution by Senator Wayne Allard and then-senator Hillary Clinton, Allard said, “Each case of childhood cancer is a very personal tragedy that can strike any family with children at any time.”

In this year’s Presidential Proclamation, President Barack Obama stated, “It is estimated that almost 16,000 of our daughters and sons under the age of 20 will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and it remains the leading cause of disease-related death for children. This month -- in honor of these young patients, their loved ones, and all those who support them -- we rededicate ourselves to combating this devastation. “

These statements are important because they serve the purpose of making us aware that this disease is a global problem that affects everyone, whether directly or indirectly, and that it can strike at any time. They encourage us to get involved, in any way we can, to help.

 cancer-awarenessFor information on how you can help patients, survivors and their loved ones, click on the ribbon. You can also visit the website of Cancer Free Kids.To learn more about childhood cancer, such as statistics, risk factors and diagnosis, go to the American Cancer Society.
 
To find out about financial help and resources for patients and families, visit the web page of Patient Resource. For more information on children’s environments and cancer, go to the Children’s Environmental Health Network.
 
These are but a few of the numerous resources and websites that offer opportunities to get involved in the fight against childhood cancer. To read Belleruth’s comments about remarkable children who used imagery and visualization to battle cancer, and went on to help others, read A Boy’s Guide to Cancer.

To learn more about the use of guided imagery in the treatment of cancer and support for families and caregivers, go to the Health Journeys Blog. To see Belleruth’s response to a stressed caregiver, read Easing Caregiver Stress during Chemo.

To access the Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation.