This is Michael. This morning, I got the 3 boys up out of a sleep at 6 a.m., and with the help of Angela and her daughter Nicole, we packed them up and took them downtown to run in the annual Miracle Miles 5 and 15k to benefit the NICU at Winnie Palmer Hospital here in Orlando. Melissa is in Tampa with Olivia and the Bishop Moore volleyball team as they play in a premier tournament there. It was a busy morning, but by 8:30 the boys were home and having their celebration breakfast, having run the race in a constant drizzle along with 1500+ others for a fantastic cause.
Besides our gratitude for Winnie Palmer Hospital and delivering safely all the boys, we are committed to the cause of the hospital and the NICU because of this: Drs. Gregor Alexander and Mike McMahan will see 1500 premature babies this year in the NICU and make a lot of miracles out of babies born weeks early, underweight or in stressed circumstances. And you know what is the sad fact? Of those 1500, 5 will also get cancer at some later point in their childhood (1 out of every 300 kids). After surviving all of that in the NICU and fighting to live, we still have not solved pediatric cancer and will put five of those miracle kids through the hell of cancer, too. I can't stand the thought of that, and I am asking everyone to help Melissa and me raise awareness and help us act so that someday, someday... all children born, whether in Dr. Alexander's NICU or under normal, beautiful, healthy circumstances, will never experience the ravage of cancer on kids because we funded the research necessary to find the cure.
Today I want to continue speaking to the point of the lack of pediatric cancer drugs developed. As mentioned before, only two new drugs have been developed specifically for children with cancer in the past 21 years. Some would say only one. This is a sad and shocking fact. I have been asked for more information on this fact. So, I will make it the fact of the day.
Childhood cancer Awareness Fact of the Day: The drug clofarabine, for refractory pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia, was FDA-approved in 2004. In the last two years (2012 and 2013), the FDA approved over 20 drugs per year for adult cancers (this included one drug, everolimus, approved to treat both adults and children with a chromosomal abnormality that causes benign tumors and hence the reason why some say one as opposed to two drugs developed for children). Source: Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. In the last ten years, no drugs have been brought to market to address any of the other forms of childhood leukemia and NONE to treat the other 11 major types of kids' cancers.
Can this really be? It is. Scientists and researchers still don't know what causes cancer in children. More research is needed and funding of this research is the only way it will occur. Childhood cancer Awareness Month is about bringing the issue to public awareness so that everyone can help in this effort. I truly believe that if only more people knew, funding would be increased immensely in the private sector and we would be closer to finally bringing an end to cancer in children.
Please help Melissa and me and all the families of children with cancer fight this fight. For Cannon and all the kids who are in the fight, please watch The Truth 365 at www.thetruth365.org and then pass it to all those who you believe might do the same. Help us raise awareness and honor all the families of those children already lost to children's cancer. Awareness is the only way to start and continue the engine to improve funding for research to develop new therapies and to find a cure to end cancer in children. It can be done. It can... believe it and Stand Up for Children… Stand UP.