This is Michael. I have now returned from Scotland, and we continue to have a positive response to our fact per day about children's cancer. In the end, the bottom line is this: children are dying because of cancer, and despite what some would have us believe about improvements in treatment, parents are burying their children and research is the only way to a cure and to stop it all. The loss of a child to a disease with no cure is a frustration and a pain inside that never leaves, and to appreciate why we ask to Go Gold and for donations to fund grants as a charity, I ask everyone to just try to appreciate the pain of a parent. Consider this from one of those parents:
If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to lose a child, I’m going to tell you.
I honestly can’t remember what my life was like before I had children, nor do I want to. I think most parents feel this way.
I met Matthew for the first time when I was 22 years old, but I feel like I’ve loved him my whole life. I feel like my sole purpose for being on this planet was to be his mom and take care of him.
And then I immediately feel lost. What is my purpose in life now that he’s gone?
When he was here, it was really hard to be away from him. I could never get enough hugs and kisses. Sometimes, I felt like I loved him so much that it hurt.
And now, all of that emotion is just sitting here. I can’t hug him. I can’t kiss him. There is no outlet for this immense love that I have for Matthew.
And then comes the guilt. There is so, so much of it.
First, I feel guilty for not being a better mom for my daughter, for not having the same kind of relationship with her that I had with Matthew. I don’t love her any less; it’s just different. I don’t think it’s possible for me to ever be as close to another human being as I was to Matthew.
And then I feel guilty about not making the most of the little bit of time we had together. We did a lot of things in those three short years, but I always feel like we could’ve done more.
Matthew underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, plus two bone marrow transplants.
I should’ve taken him to the park more. I should’ve taken more pictures. Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten so mad when he spilled red paint on his bedroom floor and then made red paint footprints all the way down the hallway.
And then, of course, comes the guilt about whether or not I made the best decisions about his treatment. Maybe another decision would have been better. Maybe there was a decision that would have given him more time — time to do all of those things that I wanted us to do.
Is all of that guilt completely irrational? Probably. But that doesn’t make it any less real.
And the guilt leads right into anger and bitterness. I’m angry that I didn’t get enough time with him. I’m angry about all of the things we won’t get to experience — Kindergarten graduation, his first baseball game, his first high school dance. It isn’t fair.
And the anger quickly turns into hate. People use the word ‘hate’ so much that I don’t know if it accurately describes the feeling. But just ask any parent of a child with cancer how they feel about their child’s disease. I’m sure they will come up with a few more colorful words.
I hate cancer. I loathe cancer. I despise it. I would do anything to destroy cancer. Cancer took away what I love most in the entire world. Cancer took away my child.
My arms feel so empty without him. My heart feels so empty.
There isn’t a love more intense than that of a parent who knows that they might lose their child. There isn’t an ache more deep than that of a parent who knows that they will never see their child again. Parents who have lost a child feel both of those things, all day, every day. It is exhausting.
And this last part might not make sense to most people. But, given the choice, I’d do it all again.
(Source: St. Baldrick's Foundation)
Stop this madness. cancer in children is wrong. It is unjust. And it is unnecessary.
Childhood cancer Awareness Fact of the Day: Today, 4 children (some estimates are up to 7) will die because of cancer or secondary cancers caused by the harsh treatments for the initial diagnosis. 4 kids were lost yesterday, 4 today will pass, and 4 more tomorrow and every day in this month and next and the one after that. Devastating losses, each and every one of them. Unnecessary. Every morning when I wake, I now can't help but think of the parents who also are waking, but will from that moment be dressing and getting ready to step out the door to attend the funeral and bury their child. That is so wrong. The average age of a child who dies from cancer is 8. I say it again: age 8.
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For ALL the parents who have lived this personal hell, have lost a child unjustly to children's cancer or are battling every day not to, please help raise awareness, please donate blood, please donate time, money and effort to fund children's cancer research so that someday, someday... cancer in children will NEVER exist.