Today marks the beginning of International Neuroblastoma Awareness Week. I think it needs to be every single week until this beast is vanquished for good. Yesterday, a 6-year-old girl called Princess Lilly Valentine whom I followed on Facebook passed away from this disease. She was just diagnosed in March or thereabouts. That is how relentless this monster is. It shows no mercy, and in defeating this dragon, we have to show it no mercy.
As a survivor, I feel it is my duty to continue the fight for Lilly, and for the others – Sierra, Rylie, Ronan, Saoirse, Tanner, Ila, RJ, and for those who are still fighting the beast – Emily, Brooke, Wes, Mia, Mallory, and Jacob. There are more names, more children stricken with this stupid disease. The list is longer than my arm. I could rattle them off, but they’d be just names to you, unless you get on Facebook and look these children up. Most of them have pages of their own because it is the easiest way to keep family, friends, and strangers alike updated on their journeys through cancer. And as a survivor of neuroblastoma, I am determined to see the day when cancer is just a zodiac sign. Go big or go home. Those are my choices. And I choose to go big.
This is only the second annual International Neuroblastoma Awareness Week. It was originally started by Families Against Neuroblastoma (FAN) in the United Kingdom, but now it is a global event. Did you know that it is the number one solid tumor cancer killer of kids? Most children cannot even say “neuroblastoma.” It’s grossly unjust.
The colors of neuroblastoma are purple and gold… gold for the cancer (because, as I’ve said time and time again, children are more precious than gold… All I need to do is look at my 3-year-old niece to confirm that), and purple for the children who have passed away from it. I am wearing purple today and ALL of my cancer awareness bracelets (I wear them ALL every single chance I get). I have enough to wear purple and/or gold all week long.
If you have healthy kids, do you know how blessed you are? Hug them tight. Yes, they will get on your nerves sometimes – that is part of what kids do. There are parents out there saying goodbye as you read this. There are children leaving this world. It’s not right. You can say that they are going to Jesus all you want, but the truth is, parents should not outlive their children. Period. Especially when these children are just babies.