This is Michael. I am thankful today. I took Cannon to a kid's park in the town of Ayr, Scotland, that sat right on the water's edge of the west coast of Scotland overlooking the Irish Sea. I was able to play with my son and enjoy my family with Cannon there. It is not so for others that have taken the same journey; over the past 24 hours, I have been informed of the passing of two more angels from childrens' cancer. One of them was diagnosed with the same exact diagnosis as Cannon. Why? Why have we let this injustice to an entire generation of children go on? I looked out on that sea off the Scottish coastline and just wondered what price any parent that has lost their child would pay to be in my shoes at that moment. How unjust, and yet how so, so thankful I am.
Today we continue on our journey of the month to truly STAND UP for children and GO GOLD to show support for the cause of curing pediatric cancers (plural). Some would say, "Well, let's shoot for a smaller goal of improving therapies", or perhaps "We might not be able to cure, but we can improve treatment methods". How about we do all of that and solve the question of why these cancers occur in the first place?? Let's get on it with it--- and I mean you NHS (National Health Service), I mean you NIH (National Institute of Health), I mean you Congress, I mean you medical community with a moral obligation along with your medical degree. I appreciate the term "one step at a time" but honestly, it's 2014, and kids have been dying of the same cancers because they receive the same treatments used in the 60's, 70's and 80's--- some of the same chemotherapy drugs that Cannon received. Yes, I said he received the same because not much has changed except the protocols to treat it. It reminds me that I used the word "barbaric" last year to describe some of the treatment Cannon received. I received a lot of feedback on the use of that word, and much of it wasn't too friendly, but I stand by it today. As a parent, I say take yourself onto an oncology floor of a children's hospital and watch the suffering and find me a different word with a straight face.
I dug up what I wrote last year about the harshness of the treatments children with cancer receive in an effort to live. Here is what I wrote then:
That said, I must comment briefly about a word and statement I made yesterday, because it received some comments back. I used the word "barbaric" to describe the treatment that kids with cancer receive. I stand by it. Anybody offended by that I would ask to challenge me or put yourself in the spot of a child receiving chemotherapy that burns your insides so bad that the nurses that come in the room to hang the chemotherapy drugs suit up prior to doing so like they were going to a hazardous material site. The nurses tell the parents "don't get this on your hands and wash after you change the diaper because it can really be harmful"! And you are going to drip that through my 22 month-old child, day after day??? And, by the way, the chemotherapy drugs used were developed for ADULT cancers and are just dosed down for the size of the child. They burn and make kids so sick that they vomit continuously for days during and after (delay onset) even with anti-nausea and sickness drugs (more drugs pumped into the child, along with all those needed to prevent virus and infection because now the child has no white blood cells left). Or, how about something just as simple as having to wake your child up at 2 a.m. and sit him or her up in the bed and squirt a horrible tasting drug down their throat? Or, how about having to surgically put a drug port in the child's chest because of the amount of drugs and chemo necessary for the next couple of months and years and the number of times the needle to access that port has to be put in, taken out, put back in (with all the nice medical tape over the top ripped on and off every time).
I could go on... is it necessary? This treatment is so unnecessary and cruel to children. Why? Because we live in modern and technologically advanced medical society. Cure children's cancer and stop this!! To all those in the medical community or others who are offended, I say this: take your feelings and bundle them into effort to eliminate cancer in children, and then we won't have to debate it anymore. It can be done, and the parents of these kids don't need to hear about how difficult and complex it is. If the effort was put in to cure was as much as that put in to put up new buildings to treat, we'd get there. Do it. Cancer in babies, toddlers, kids and teenagers is unjust and unnecessary in today's age.
Childhood cancer Awareness Fact of the Day: 36 kids (and some estimates are as many as 45) will be diagnosed with cancer today. 36 parents will hear the words "Your child has cancer". It will change the child's life forever, and the family will be turned upside down. 3 out of every 5 children that "survive" cancer (the subject of a later fact this month) will suffer from the effects of their cancer drug treatments--- lung damage, heart failure, infertility, hearing loss, growth defects. And these are the kids that LIVE. 36 kids - a whole classroom of kids per day. 36 families per day in turmoil and grief. Isn't it time to stop this?
Thank you to all who follow and pray for Cannon and all the kids with cancer that we know. Thank you to all who have offered to educate the community or write their representative, make a donation to a children's cancer charity, tell a friend or family an awareness fact, make a presentation to a local group or make any effort for kids' cancer. Don't do it for us individually or just for Cannon. Do it for kids with cancer and for our society. Our children deserve better.
Saint Peregrine, JoeJoe, Eddie, Nicholas, Bella, Talia, Cole, Erin, Gabriella, Trenton,Tommy, Addison, Abigail, Christopher, Jayson, Landon, Salvatore, Zoe, Brooke, Laney and all the angels and saints, please pray for Cannon, Patrick, Ethan, Princeton, Ava, Prestun, Oscar, Sabrina, Sophia, Sophie, Andy, Calin, Parker, Ayven, Sebastian, Ellen, Ella, Austin, Braden, Nora, Nate, Theo, Maggie, Jacob, Gage, Jace, Makayla, Angel and all those who suffer or have suffered from cancer.