Thursday, September 3, 2009

September Awareness

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

So, are you aware?

Are you aware that Zac Mason has endured months of chemo and radiation and beat cancer? He then beat a relapse of the same cancer. The then survived a stroke that paralyzed his left side. He survived countless side effects as the poison of chemo assaulted his small body. He survived ICU, a place from which many cancer kids never return. And now he is fighting for his life against a fungal infection. His body have no immune system, and the doctors have no meds. Zac is on his own, with his father by his side. That is the true story of cancer. His father begged and pleaded and searched. Never faltering, never losing hope, fighting for Zac at every step. But tomorrow morning doctors will walk into the room. As they do, they will ask for DNR signatures. Do Not Resuscitate. Were you aware?

Are you aware Mason McLeod has battled 18 months against Burkitt's, the most aggressive disease in the world cancer? Relapses, surgeries, coma, spinal taps, radiation, chemo. And still he fights. Doctors gave up and insurance turned their back, but Mason fights on. His father searches the world for more options. His mother prays to God. They do this because they both know Mason better than the doctors. They know the spirit fight inside Mason. And now, as options continue to fail and cancer continues to relapse, Mason and his father board a plan for New York. One more option. One more chance to fight. No promises, just searching and praying for hope. Were you aware?

Are you aware that Matt Hupp beat cancer? He received incredible volumes of chemo to kill Burkitt's Lymphoma and Leukemia. He fought to get back to school, just before the last days of school. He fought to re-join his friends, as they threw a "Last Chemo" celebration party. His parents searched everywhere, called everyone, covered all the bases. But as summer arrived, Matt relapsed. As summer ended, Matt passed away. With cancer, sometimes, giving your very all you have to give, is simply not good enough. Were you aware?

Are you aware? There are are many people who, until recently, could have never imagined the following words. Not long ago, they were just like you. In their worst nightmares they could never imagine writing these words. Not long ago, they were unaware.

For the last two years, my right shoulder has really ached. It came from throwing thousands of footballs to my 14 year old son AJ. My new problem is that over the past month or so, my shoulder has slowly but surely stopped aching. Now what keeps me awake at night is my broken heart. You see, I have no one to throw those passes to, no one to brush back anymore. Because AJ left us on January 5, 2008, a victim of childhood cancer.
--Bob Piniewski, father of AJ.

My tears are coming more frequent and at times uncontrollable. I can't imagine this pain going on the rest of my life. The pain and guilt are like a knife in my heart. My son wanted to live. His words keep echoing in my head. He asked me why the doctors was giving up on him when he still wanted to fight. He wanted to live. So many "what ifs".
--Shiryl Pauley, mother of Brett Workman, who died at 17 of Burkitt's

The anger, frustration and disbelief continue. The pain is still as raw as any wound ever inflicted and the tears still flow freely.
-Jon Agin, father of 2 year old Alexis, brain tumor patient

Hi, my name is Cody. I am 12 years old. I love to be outside playing with my friends or just watching the airplanes. My dream has always been to join the air force and go to West Point Academy. I have a love for planes, and one day I will my own airlines. I was just diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma. Well this is just a little bit about me. I will update my page as much as I can.
--Cody Robinson passed away at age 13

My mind is a blur right now and my body and mind appear to be functioning independently. I felt this way in September when we learned of your disease. But the difference then was we had hope--we had a gameplan and a chance that things would be different with you. Today, we now know that this simply is not going to be the case--our hope was snatched away in the blink of an eye.
--Father of Will Hladun, sortly before watching his son die of cancer.

I want to spend some time in someone else's body.
--Jack Brown, 7 years old, last wish, two weeks before death from cancer.

The chemo and stem cell transplant were supposed to work. He was supposed to be cured. We were supposed to be done. No more chemo, no more hospital stays, no more blood transfusions, no more platelet transfusions, no more pokes and sticks and IV poles and masks. No more. I am not the same na├»ve person that I was in the PICU a year ago. I know what cancer can do. I’ve seen families ripped apart by it. I’ve lost count of how many kids have passed away since we started this whole journey. I am scared out of my mind.
--Jen Barr, mother of Matthew Barr, fighting brain tumor relapse.

I know I will feel better getting out of the house. My mom told me if I want to go anywhere she will find a way to make it happen. The docs put me back on a steroids to help slow down the brain swelling. I hope nobody never has 2 go thru what I am. It is hard to stay positive. I know my mom is having a hard time. She is the toughest person I know, but she is tired. Whenever i wake up she is right there. Now she holds my cold hand and my dog lays on my cold feet.
--Josh Prunsky, died at age 12 of cancer.

I remember my first chemo round, staring at the ceiling and trying not to cry. The agony was stunning. I've long since learned to go ahead and cry. How could this have happened? Yet as with anything that happens, it happens, and then suddenly you find it has happened, and more things keep continuing to happen. Chemotherapy has instilled in me a visceral understanding that all bad things will pass in time ... but that all good things will too.
--Miles Levin, died at 18 of cancer.

There is a dark side to this story that never made the front page; the decay of Miles's body was dehumanizing, and it was a knife in my stomach to wave goodbye as the hand of fate dragged him far away from me. The sound of retching and moaning used to reverberate in the walls of our Jack-and-Jill bedrooms, but now the house beats palpably with his absence and his cries are echoes floating in the night that I can only hear if I listen closely.
--Nina Levin, sister of Miles Levin who died of childhood cancer

Today I re-activated his cell phone just so that I could hear his voice once in a while. I miss hearing his voice. I know it will hurt me but, I just had to do it.
--Robin Kizar, mother of Brenden, a 17 year old victim of Burkitt's.

I HATE having to pick out my sweet 14 year old sons casket, burial plot, headstone, music and pictures for his funeral. I HATE our "new normal," worrying about our other 2 kids and how they are doing, worrying about my marriage since we aren't communicating much, worrying if others are SO tired of seeing the sadness and yearning in my eyes, wondering what Christian would look like now and what he would be doing, yearning for his hug, smell, voice, smile, laugh, and an "I love you mom".
--Sandy Barker, mother of Christian, a victim of childhood cancer.
Are you aware?

1 comment:

the Mallett's said...

Hello Alfriend Family,
We were was just checking in to see how everyone's doing.
Take care,
The Mallett Family