I don’t believe in rants. In a time when politics are absolutely out of control, listening to other people’s opinions makes me stomach sick. I am all too familiar with people with a personal vendetta using media outlets to blast those that they aren’t so fond of. So to me, rants are just a way to hurt others. But I think in this case, my rant is justified.
Back in September I went into Shoprite, like I normally do each week, and I was asked to donate money to breast cancer awareness programs. Based on how I was raised, I had a really hard time saying no. Regardless, it bothered me that they were asking me to donate money to breast cancer. Breast cancer awareness month is in October and everything in me became overcome with anger as I informed cashiers what September was really about.
“I’ll donate to your cause, but you should really be raising money for childhood cancer awareness,” I said to the cashier. She just shrugged her shoulders and smiled at me. I looked back at my husband and I said, “You know what, Rob. I can’t walk out of this store like this. Grace has taught me too much.” Grace is a young woman who raises awareness for childhood cancer. In fact, while Rob, Nico, Gabriella, Nana, Pop, and I sat in the hospital and waited for days to see if Anthony’s tumor was cancerous, Grace was busy gathering presents to send to Anthony to encourage him to fight this nasty battle.
At this moment, I thought, “What would Grace do?” Rob and I went over to Customer Service and asked to speak to the manager. The young man pointed to a rough around the edges kind of guy and we approached him. I said, “You know September is childhood cancer awareness month, and you guys should really raise money for that cause because there are children in our own community fighting for their lives against cancer.” He dismissed me with a “you’re right” attitude that assured me he would do nothing.
A lovely woman approached me and pointed out a manager who was in charge of many of the fundraising efforts. She seemed ever so compassionate as we talked about Anthony’s experience and our experience with other children. I thought about sweet Luke Dunn and how my heart aches regularly for him. No, he isn’t my child. But my child was in those circumstances, and my heart aches real pain for his parents.
The manager encouraged me to write a letter so I went home and wrote the most heart wrenching, jaw dropping, inspiring letter I could put to paper. I was proud of that letter. In my mind, nothing would stop that local store from raising money for childhood cancer awareness soon, or at the least, next year. I received a generic, we can’t please everyone response and I was angry. I was so angry. But I put it aside for the time being.
Today I learned Michael Buble’s dear son Noah was diagnose with cancer. I immediately felt sick to my stomach. While most people felt a desperate relief that maybe we would finally bring a voice to childhood cancer awareness, I looked at this couple as two regular human being who were just told their child had cancer. And my heart literally ached for them.
Childhood cancer has no boundaries. It knows no prejudices. It hits the most compassionate people, the kindest children, even the most famous children. And while we spend the month of October turning everything pink, raising money for breast cancer, being mindful of what this month means, where the hell are all these people in September. I’m sorry for my anger, but how the hell can you sit here and raise awareness for breast cancer in such a fierce way, without raising awareness for childhood cancer with the same drive?
I’m not sure about you, but my son means everything to me. In fact, I would die a million times over to save any of the children in my life. Wouldn’t you? So why is it so God damn hard for us to recognize childhood cancer awareness month and go gold in September? It shouldn’t take a celebrity or a famous face to make us all aware that children are dying from this terrible disease. I have friends of mine who fight every day to make you all realize that only 4% of research goes to childhood cancer. FOUR PERCENT! Do you realize how little that is?!
I’m not asking for money or funds, I’m asking for your voice. Raise your voice for childhood cancer awareness just as your raise your voice for breast cancer awareness. The fact is that seven children are dying of cancer each day and twenty four are diagnosed. Do you want your children to be part of that statistic? Of course not. None of us can imagine we are part of that battle until we are thrown into the mix. Just as Michael Buble has it all in life, sometimes having it all is having your children safe and healthy.
Think of all the children that can’t afford to get the best treatment, the strongest medication, the most knowledgeable doctors. Think of them and feel sorry for children fighting this disease. Think of them and spread awareness throughout each day of your life. Think of them and go gold for childhood cancer. Because someday, our children deserve for us to fight so hard that they have a damn chance.