Meet my daughter, Bronwyn. She is the inspiration behind the Gold Ribbon Craft Project. At the age of 14 she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia [AML]. After four months of in-hospital treatment she suffered chemo induced cardiomyopathy. This story has a happy ending. She survived 675 days on a VAD, a heart pump, and had a very successful heart transplant on April 9th, 2014. She is just one of the 80% of childhood cancer survivors who will suffer from at least one life-threatening health condition as a result of treatment.*
Our children deserve better. They should come first yet research for childhood cancer is chronically underfunded worldwide with more than 90% of all cancer research dollars being spent on adult cancers. We don’t know why children get cancer but we do know that it behaves and responds to treatment differently in children so adult research is not always helpful. The market for pediatric cancer treatment is too small to tempt big pharma to get involved so we depend on governments and charities to do the work. So how do we get them to increase funding? Awareness! Awareness has always been the key to more funding, better treatments and survival rates. It is working for AIDS and breast cancer. Now is the time to raise awareness for our children.
Facts about Childhood Cancer I bet you don’t know:
- September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
- The colour for Childhood Cancer Awareness is gold because our children are worth more than gold.
- One in every 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20.
- Cancer kills more children, over the age of 1, than any other disease.
- There is no known cause for cancer in children.
- There are 12 main categories of childhood cancer with countless sub-categories. Most of these cancers are only found in children.
- ALL [acute lymphoblastic leukemia] is the most common type children get and has a 95% survival rate. Most other types of childhood cancer have a rate less than 50% and some still have a 0% survival rate including DIPG, a brain cancer that only children get.
- 97% of survivors have at least one chronic health issue and 80% will develop a life-threatening health problem.
- Treatments for most pediatric cancers has not changed in 20 years.
- Most charities that raise funds for childhood cancer are started and run by parents of children who did not survive like Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and Team Finn Foundation.
It’s time we all got involved and helped take some of the burden felt by parents who don’t want any other child to endure what they watched their child go through. The future for childhood cancer treatment is bright! There are many new treatments being researched, some that don’t include chemo and radiation which is so hard on growing bodies. We can help to fast track research with more money and awareness.
The Gold Ribbon Craft Project has sent out hand-crafted hats to celebrities and asked them to share a selfie in it this September to spread awareness. We will also be publishing an ebook with more than 20 knit or crochet patterns centred on a gold theme this fall. Twenty-one designers from around the world have donated their time and talents and the results are stunning. A link to the ebook will be placed here when it is released.
Some charities that support childhood cancer research:
- St. Baldrick’s Foundation [the pediatric arm of Stand Up To Cancer]
- The Truth 365 -creator of the Emmy winning doc, The Truth 365 and Be a Voice.
- Children’s Oncology Group
- Alex’s Lemonade Stand
- Arms Wide Open
- Cookies for Kids’ Cancer
- St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital
- The Nicholas Conor Institute
- Smashing Walnuts
- Childhood Cancer Canada
- Team Finn Foundation
*Childhood cancer survivors study published in June, 2013 by St. Jude’s
Thank-you for helping raise awareness for children fighting cancer.