Mumma Bear Blog
This weekend, many of my family and friends posted this article saying how proud they were of me. I'm grateful for my amazeballs family - I'm seriously the luckiest Scottish lassy. BUT...
Would you like to know who I am REALLY proud of?
A national newspaper.
The Daily Record.
When was the last time you picked up a newspaper and saw images of a child battling cancer with blood coming from their nose?
A child battling cancer with arm restraints on?
A child battling cancer with tubes on his face?
I hate to be presumptuous but I am pretty sure the answer is "never".
You have, of course, seen bald children, smiling, happy, maybe holding a balloon, maybe a local celebrity.
Rarely do we see what I've seen: one of my closest friends walking behind the casket of her 5 month-old-daughter, Emmi Grace, after battling brain cancer. Or Trevor, whom my son and I adored, being laid to rest. I could write an entire book on what I've seen. I don't need people to see or feel or know everything about pediatric cancer - I really don't. But I do need people to know it's not all smiles and balloons... that it's pain, that it's death, that it's hospice for three year olds like my friend Julia, who was laid to rest at age 3.
Why do I need or want people to know the truth?
Because my theory is if people knew what pediatric cancer REALLY looked like they would try to change it.
That's been mostly my experience as we started our foundation. By the end of this year, CKc will have raised $1 million dollars for pediatric cancer research in three years. People ask why we show these images. We show them for change. Our mission statement has three words in it that I hear in my mind every single day: "educate for change".
I try to do that as much as I possibly can. I believe education can change the outcome for these kids. I believe in my heart and my brain that CKc can help be a part of that change.
I'm grateful when a national newspaper interviews me and says "In over twenty years in the business I've never seen images like this." And then shares those images with the country. That's brave! That's heroic to me!
More times than not, when I do interviews I tell the reality of pediatric cancer and later send images of Cannon and what that looked like. You know the real images - the surgery pics, hand restraints, blood from his nose pics... more often than not those are not selected.
Thank you for showing the REAL images!
Thank you for showing the reality of pediatric cancer!
I've spent the last two weeks representing CKc in Scotland and the "accessibility" pillar in our mission statement. I've been able to be part of a movement in Scotland to show the reality of pediatric cancer and to use funds generated from a ladies' luncheon where I spoke, a public appeal on national TV where I was interviewed and a national newspaper interview to FUND research for an early phase trials program. The first of its kind in the country at the best hospital in the country, Glasgow Royal Children's Hospital. Our CKc team, including Guy Redford (Director of Golf at Loch Lomond), Annabel Redford (my fierce Mumma bear), Michael Wiggins, my amazeballs husband - have all worked with the hospital for around 18 months to collaborate with how CKc could help with research at the hospital. Seeing the fruits of our labor has been quite emotional but in the best possible way. Making our CKc board proud of how we carry out our mission is frankly really important to me and I believe they are proud. If not, you may find a new Executive Director at CKc - but hopefully you're still stuck with me for a while. I will let you all know how my annual review goes 😁😁😁!
I've worked with many hospitals around the US and Kirsten Sinclair, Shona Cardle and Dr. Gibson (just nominated by the Queen of England for an Order of the British Empire) are among the best. Their hard work and constant collaboration with CKc on how we could be a part of this was and is greatly appreciated! This is just the start of changing pediatric cancer in Europe and I'm thankful CKc can help with the movement.
In my interview I was asked "What is your hope with all of this, with what you do at CKc?"
My response: "That parents and kids are never told there are no more options, that it's time for hospice. That a child never dies of pediatric cancer. That the scars of pediatric cancer that are left behind diminish."
All of the above are doable!!
They take funding!
They take GOOD, in fact, GREAT research.
But the best part of this?
It's all doable!!
And guess what?
CKc is doing it!!