Families Affected by Cancer
You Can Help in Three Powerful Ways:
- Donate to support independent
research of pediatric brain cancers. The Pediatric
Brain Tumor Foundation and Alex's
Lemonade Stand evaluate research studies
and direct donations to those they consider
to be the most promising.
- Encourage state legislators
and the president to fund pediatric brain
cancer research through the National Cancer
Institute of the NIH and to create legislation
that stops drug companies from making incentive
payments to doctors in any form. Current
- Support families who
have children with cancer or other life-threatening
diseases by providing meals, mowing lawns
or doing other helpful things while they are
in the hospital, or by giving
directly to a family in need or to one of
the organizations that support those families.
Above all, we must continue
to pressure our leaders to make curing a cancer
a priority. We have all known someone who has
suffered from cancer; we may have suffered from
it ourselves. It is a disease that affects us
all, and it is high time for a cure.
Our leaders have always
achieved great gains by helping our nation imagine
a positive goal, such as reaching the moon,
encouraging democracy in Eastern Europe, or
demanding a United States where everyone is
free and has equal rights. The last major presidential
initiative occurred when Richard Nixon declared
a War on Cancer in 1971. What better legacy
NOW for a president and congress than to achieve
a cure for cancer?
*Legislative Update as
of May 2009:
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The Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2008 (formerly known simply as the Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2008) passed with unanimous consent and was signed by the president! Thank you to all who helped to support this bill. The only pending children's cancer legislation that we know of at this time are a cancer survivorship research bill and an anti-smoking bill intended to protect children. You can read more about those measures here. We also trust that a portion of the new funds flowing back into academic research as part of the Obama stimulus will go toward basic science cancer research and children's cancer research, and are gratified to see that scientific research, including cancer research, is a priority again.
HELP FAMILIES AFFECTED BY CANCER
How Pediatric Cancer Affects
When diagnosed with a pediatric
brain tumor or other life-threatening disease,
it stops the world for that child and her or
his family. Besides the logistics involved with
hospital stays, clinical visits and negotiations
with social service agencies or insurance companies,
the families must face emotional issues and,
often, financial difficulties.
In Ella's case, she had
to leave her beloved daycare and had very limited
contact with other children her age. She was
on an intensive chemotherapy program that kept
her in the hospital approximately three of every
four weeks per month.
Her mother Shannon halted
her career as a botanist to care for Ella; her
father Tom continued to work as a communications
manager, but needed time off from work when
Ella's situation worsened and after she passed
Ella's disease progression
was tragically quick. Other families may exist
in a state of crisis for years as they battle
their child's disease.
Stories of Families
Affected By Cancer
To get an idea of what one
family went through when the teenage son was
diagnosed with cancer, read the Sacramento
Bee's Pulitzer Prize winning series.
Read about how Derek Fisher,
star NBA player of the Utah Jazz, consented
to the use of a promising new treatment (PDF)
on his infant daughter's retinoblastoma. Fisher
later abandoned a three-year, 20.58 million
dollar contract with the Utah Jazz in order
to concentrate full-time on the care of his
daughter (which inspired Ella's father Tom —
despite his loyalty to the Sacramento Kings
— to buy a Derek Fisher jersey).
To learn the lengths that
a Wall Street investor went to save his daughter,
No to Penelope" (login/payment may
Ways to Help
Families Affected By Cancer
If you know a family who
is being affected by cancer, you may already
realize that a long-term battle with pediatric
cancer can hit even middle-class families hard.
Bringing meals, mowing the lawn, or even giving
gas cards or gift cards may be an immeasurable
help to a family that is having its finances
and time stretched too far.
Donate to an organization
that helps the families of pediatric brain tumor
patients, such as the Pediatric
Brain Tumor Foundation, or a regional organization.
Regional organizations are
familiar with the treatment landscape and unique
challenges of the area they serve. To find an
organization in your area, contact your local
hospital with a pediatric cancer treatment center.
Some examples of these organizations are (in
Keaton Raphael Memorial, Derek's
Wish and (in Wyoming) Jason's
Friends. Unfortunately, there is no umbrella
organization that connects these important regional
organizations or unites their energies toward