Did you know September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? If not, you’re not alone. Unlike many other months and the causes that they are attached to, the color gold will likely not take over store shelves in September to mark the awareness month, nor will buildings light up in the color to show their solidarity. Instead, the childhood cancer community will work extremely hard to bring National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month into the limelight, hoping to garner the attention of the general public.
It is not an understatement to say that I am thrilled for all the attention that is given to worthy causes – though pink is not my favorite color, seeing the outpouring of generosity for breast cancer awareness in October is something to marvel at. I would say something very similar for February when red is everywhere you look, not only for Valentine’s Day, but also for American Heart Month. I hope that all of these causes garner the attention of the masses, but I have to ask myself, is it so wrong to find frustration in the fact that cancers affecting our children continue to fly under the radar.
When my daughter Alexandra “Alex” Scott was diagnosed with cancer prior to her first birthday, I certainly didn’t know that an infant having cancer was in the realm of possibilities. I also didn’t know that kids still died from cancer. Alex would battle cancer for the next eight years of her life, and would quickly outgrow the treatment protocols for her form of cancer, neuroblastoma. Imagine that, not only does your child have cancer, but the doctors are at a loss of how to treat her. We were fortunate enough to find clinical trials that would prolong Alex’s life and give her a good quality of life; and while she would change the lives of so many through her lemonade stands, she would not see the day when cures would become realities.
My daughter Alex died in 2004 at the age of 8, over 10 years ago, and still, as we are in contact daily with families facing childhood cancer, there are children facing the same fate. While our Foundation, and others are working to find cures, have funded groundbreaking research, some of which are leading to cures, there is still so much to be done. To me, without the support of the general public, a mass audience, childhood cancer will never garner the attention it deserves.
In this very respect, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is gearing up for the month of September in which we will invite runners, walkers, cyclists and everyone to contribute their miles as we collectively aim to log one million miles throughout the month.
Why one million? Because what parent wouldn’t go that distance, and then some, to find cures for their child? Also, Alex set a goal of raising $1 million in 2004, and while some people, including me, thought that was an unattainable goal, Alex did it with the help of others.
Children with cancer need your help. They need your help in bringing the cause into the spotlight, not only in the month of September, but every day of every year until cures are found.
Will you join us on our #Journey2aMillion this September? Whether you do, or not, I hope you will take the time to tell one, two or three people that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – you can be a part of finding the cures we are so desperately seeking.