Unless we have experienced it none of us can come close to imagining what it must be like to lose a child, or to watch them suffer.
There are days when I remember with a smile, young Daniel (13) my friend’s son, and some of his more mischievous moments, then there are other days, when despite my best efforts, I remember the nightmare his parents faced as they had to break the news to him that he had cancer. In the following weeks and months we watched him lose his hair and suffer pain we rarely speak of. During that time Daniel was braver than I could ever be.
Knowing your child has cancer and may die must be impossible to believe. Without having any time to absorb that news the child and it’s parents are whisked away from the life they knew, to a life where treatment so toxic it can kill, is the only choice they are given. There follows years of chemo, radiotherapy and surgery, with no guarantee of success. What parents witness they rarely speak off, with the result that most people never know how cruel the treatment is, or that very little has been done to improve it.
In the past seventy seven years there has been a total of three new cancer treatments developed for children, compared to seventy seven for adults in just six years.
Most of us are unaware that childhood cancer even exists. Many probably believe that most children recover, as many do. However the truth is that children do die. In the past four weeks seven families here in Ireland said a last good bye to their most precious child. These children fought hard and suffered so much it’s difficult to accept the treatment didn’t work.
Childhood cancer exists. Surely we owe it to our little ones to protect them, to do all in our power to find new treatments and cures, to limit side effects and ensure that our children are not left with life limiting conditions due to the toxicity of the treatment they receive?
You may wonder what you can do? It’s simple enough. Go Gold for September. Help raise awareness of childhood cancer by changing your facebook and Twitter profile Click here for information on how to change your profile picture.
If you are not on facebook or Twitter please remember that childhood cancer does exist. If you get any chance at all, be it through your writing or conversations in every day life, please put childhood cancer in the public eye.
Fight like a child for children with cancer