Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why Pediatric Cancer Sucks

Yesterday I had the honest pleasure of hearing a 7 year old speak about her fight against cancer.  You may wonder why I picked the word pleasure to describe that experience, but the reason is -- she is still here to tell her story. She is now a healthy seven year old, and I'll make sure to pray that she stays healthy (any free prayers you have would be great, too.)

The experience was actually quite painful. She described the discovery of her diagnosis (very abnormal and very upsetting), the chemotherapy, her battle with steroid-induced depression, and finally her recovery. She mentioned how good it felt when she was able to go out again and enjoy herself. (How sad to think that a seven year old could make a statement so mature about depression when I would like to go back to my childhood to get away from the hassle of everyday life). Still, even with her recovery, she has to take growth hormones to make sure her body grows like a normal child's body should.

No type of cancer is good, and I think that is agreeable. However, to watch a seven-year-old calmly describe her battle with cancer, that is something I will never forget for as long as I live. It just is not fair. It is not fair how the world can pick a perfectly healthy 1, 2, 3 year old and decide that this is the one that will get sick. It is not fair that there is no cure. It is certainly not fair that so many children have lost their lives to this disease.

This is why I THON. In case you don't know, THON is a student-run philanthropy at Penn State University that raises money for pediatric cancer. Last year we raised over 9 MILLION DOLLARS! This money all went to the Four Diamonds Fund at Hershey Medical Center. This organization helps families pay for their medical bills, allows further research for the cure, and provides the families with comforts during their battle against pediatric cancer.

One father of a Four Diamonds Family talked to us, and he described how some people have criticized his parenting as too "lenient." He then stated that he was just plain happy to have his daughter around, so if they felt he was being too lenient than that was just too bad.

I felt that statement hit home. How different would our lives be if the person we were mad at, or upset with, was battling cancer? How mad would we be?