Childhood cancer Awareness Month - Day 13

This is Michael. This morning I am in Pennsylvania, at the home where I grew up and visiting my mother.  I had some business in Philadelphia yesterday, and today I will attend the Cannonball Kids' cancer events at the Kenhorst Fire Company near the Wyomissing/Shillington/Reading, PA area. There are a number of events on today (if you are in the area, please come out and would love to meet you), ending tonight with a dance party with auction and raffle of gifts and prizes---- all put on for CKc and to help us raise funds to make a research grant to make treatments specific to children with cancer (so they are not treated with adult forms of cancer drugs), develop less painful treatments for children suffering from cancer, and, ultimately, find a cure to ALL 12 types of children's cancer. It can be done. Don't ever give up or say it is a mountain too high. I will have none of that argument. We can do this and it CAN happen in our lifetimes.

This morning I would like to take a moment to discuss the current funding of cancer research,  particularly for children's cancer causes. Most that have followed Cannon or other children with cancer or are passionate about children's cancer issues know the statistics I will discuss below, but it bears repeating and perhaps there are some reading this for the first time. Since Cannon was diagnosed with cancer in April last year, Melissa and I have spent a lot of time researching why and how cancer research funding for children is what it is (poor, to put it mildly) and what happens to our tax dollars when it is allocated to the National Institute of Health (NIH) and ultimately to the The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the NIH and the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Nation’s principal agency for cancer research and coordinator for  the National Cancer Program.   

The federal government allocates approximately $5 Billion a year to the NIH for cancer research.

For reference and by way of example, in 2012, lung cancer research was funded for $314 million. Prostate cancer research was funded with $265 million. Breast cancer research was funded with $602 million. Colorectal cancer research was funded with $256 million. Go to the link above and search the NIH's site to see funding for all types of cancer of the $5 billion allotted. Keep in mind that of the four examples I give above, all of them are adult cancers, rarely or never seen in children, and each one is singular, meaning that it is one type of adult cancer. 

How much did children's cancer of ALL types receive for funding of research in 2012?? All TWELVE major types of children's cancer??  

Children's cancer Awareness Fact of the Day:   Answer? $208 million.    Less than 4% of the total budgeted amount for all research. Less than 4%......our kids are worth, apparently at least to the NIH and our federal government, less than 4%.    

All of them!  neuroblastoma, medullablastoma, Wilm's tumor, childhood leukemia, retinoblastoma, osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, childrens' lymphomas, rhabdomyosarcoma, hepatoblastoma, Hodgkin's diseases. All of these "shared" the less than 4%.   

Source:  Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)

The numbers say it all. I realize that numbers can say what one wants them to say, and I believe Mark Twain said that there are lies, damn lies and then statistics. But read the government's own numbers from their own web site and the Office of Management and Budget cited above. As the saying goes, read it and weep. Weep for the children that will were diagnosed a month ago, yesterday and will be today. Weep for the kids that have been lost to childhood cancer, Addison and Sal, Talia, Christopher, Eddie, Erin, Gabriella, Joe Joe and all the children lost unnecessarily and those that will die today because priorities were for numbers and adults instead of compassion and for children.   Weep for the kids that suffer every single day from treatment that is yes, BARBARIC, to small humans, day after day after day. And it goes on and on, and not much has changed in 25 years.    

I said last year that I have spoken to researchers, trying and grasping to save Cannon's life. To speak to anyone who could lead Melissa and I to what was best and might give Cannon less painful treatment and more of a chance to someday be cancer free. And one told me, "I have spent my whole career in research to find why neuroblastoma occurs in children....and but for a few advances in treatment methods, the survivability rate is still unacceptable as it was when I started in the 80s, and for the large part, the medical research effort in children's cancer has been a failure...."  And the reason is the lack of funding for research. It's not all our government's fault--in fact, those of you who know me know that I am not a proponent of relying on government for free anything. It's partly the medical community's fault as well---- where is the public outrage about this? Who is speaking up for these kids? Only the parents and the families? Does children's cancer research have to be the only major cancer type that is primarily funded by the families who are suffering from it??? All rhetorical questions.... we know the answers to each of them. 

For all the kids that have left us too soon and unjustly, we pray for the strength to fight this fight in your honor and to never forget the pain and misery you suffered at the hands of children's cancer, so that others may have the hope of living and that someday, someday research funding will increase because of awareness and that.....children's cancer will be no more.  

It can be done. Please help us, and all the parents, families and advocates for these children raise awareness about childhood cancer, and turn that awareness into action. 

Our new T-shirt says exactly what this post says - our kids are worth ONLY 4 percent. We have only sold 67 of 150 and there are only 2 weeks left to purchase. All 150 must sell in order for the T-Shirt to be printed and sold. Please purchase our new T-shirt - all proceeds go towards our goal to fund a trial for better treatments for these kids OUR kids, YOUR kids. You can purchase at the link below. Or go to our Facebook and you can purchase there from the post today. 

Thank you.