Life-Altering, Lifetime Impact

Written by Michael Wiggins

This is Michael. Before I post the fact today, I just want to post a picture. I’ve posted it before, but take a look at this picture and let it stand for all the words that I have said to-date or could say today and for the rest of September and Childhood cancer Awareness Month.
I do not know the child in the photo, although it looks a bit like Cannon (it's not). It represents why we raise awareness, why we scream for a cure, why we are angry that our children suffer from cancer and its treatment. Should any child ever have to pull his or her IV pole down the hall of a hospital because they are there to receive chemotherapy to try to live???

Childhood cancer Awareness Fact of the Day: Children that are treated for cancer are at risk for life altering and lifetime effects of the treatment (another reason that research funding is necessary to improve treatment methods, reduce pain and sickness and eliminate lifetime side effects). Three out of five children who survive children’s cancer suffer long term or late side effects.  SOURCE: CureSearch.org

This is the horrible list of potential side effects that kids that get cancer are left with for their lifetimes, assuming they survive, as a result of current treatment protocols. These are considered "common" and this list does not include everything children endure:

Cognitive issues including delayed speech, problems with reading, writing and memory retention.

Fertility issues.

Secondary cancers later in life.

Loss of limbs, or shortened limbs whose growth was stunted.

Cataracts, poor vision, damage to the optic nerve or other effects to the eye.

Hearing loss.

Cardiac problems including an abnormal heartbeat, congestive heart failure and increased risk of a stroke or blood clots.

Kidney failure.

Weak or thin bones that can break easily.

Anxiety and depression.

Teeth and jaw problems including missing teeth, smaller teeth, tooth decay and gum disease.
(Source:  Alex's Lemonade Stand http://www.alexslemonade.org)


Unfortunately, Melissa and I personally know some of these too well already. Because of the treatment Cannon had to endure just to live, he has suffered permanent hearing loss, vision damage, tooth decay, delayed speech and stunted growth. Am I complaining? Not really… he is still here and we are grateful. I don’t care if he has disabilities and of course we love him no less. But fair and just to children who must endure barbaric and archaic treatments for cancer, some dating back to the '60s and '70s? No. Unjust and most of all, unnecessary.

Cannonball Kids’ cancer Foundation is dedicated to funding research for less painful therapies for children’s cancers, more effective treatments and especially the development of therapies specifically designed for children, and ultimately a cure and an end to cancer in children. If you would like to help, please visit our website at www.cannonballkidscancer.org.