I read this blog post this morning by one Nicole Scobie (go ahead, click on that link, read it for yourself), and every single word resonated with me. So far, none of my friends on Facebook have said anything negative to me in regards to my posts about childhood cancer, even when I share pictures like the one of little Madison Pagel crying because she was getting her IVs out. She’s three years old, and she had brain surgery earlier this month to remove one of the two cancerous tumors in her head. I have asked her mom, Tracy, if I could share it here, and she said yes. So here it is:
Does that picture break your heart? What if she was your child, your grandchild, your niece, your friend? Could you look away then? I should hope not.
Maybe no one says anything to me because I have a lot of cancer friends on Facebook. Maybe no one says anything to me because they know who and what I am (a childhood cancer survivor). I mean, sure, they could be hiding my posts when they come across their newsfeeds, but that is on them. If they choose not to see, and their child is diagnosed, or a child they know and love, and do nothing, well, that’s on them. Like Nicole Scobie says, the goal here isn’t to make you sad. It isn’t to make you feel bad that your kids are healthy, and if they are, I pray to God they stay that way. No… It is to make you aware. Kids get cancer too. And it’s to make you do something about it. They can’t fight cancer alone. No one can.
You can look away, but you can never ever again say you did not know.
And like Nicole Scobie, the only way I am ever going to shut up about childhood cancer and its realities is if it’s stopped. When the National Institute of Cancer and Health start giving researchers more than 3% for childhood cancer. I have said it before, and I will say it again: there are twelve different types of childhood cancer, and many, many subtypes. In what universe is 3% enough? I don’t even want to get started on the pharmaceutical companies and their corruptness, but I will say this: cancer doesn’t mean anything to them other than a way to make big bucks. I mean, sure, they’d care if it was their child. But who is to say that they aren’t sitting on a cure? No one knows anything for sure. We can’t trust anything.
I am not knocking research for breast cancer or any adult cancers. I am an adult myself, and because I went through TOXIC childhood cancer treatments when I was young, I am at high risk for getting another form of cancer. It could be any kind of cancer, really. In fact, my gynecologist sent me to Seattle this past spring because she knew this. It didn’t end up being cancer, but I do know how easily it could have been. I am advocating for childhood cancers because it is so very wrong that literally NOTHING has changed since I was sick.
Little Madison, “Maddie” as she is well known to family, friends, and Facebook, still has a tumor in her brain, a spot on her spine, and she will always have a shunt in her head to help drain the fluid in her brain. They are running out of options for her. Now, they are going to give her chemo drugs at home, and hope and pray that it works. Please keep her in your prayers. Children shouldn’t be fighting for their lives, and Maddie has been fighting since she was an infant. Even though she doesn’t understand why she has to go through what she does, even though she cries, she still smiles for the camera and delights in playing with her little sister. But she needs YOU. She needs YOUR voice to join the voices of her parents, her friends, and the advocates. My one voice isn’t enough to change her world. I know that.
Are you sick of all this cancer stuff? I am too. But the only way it’s gonna stop is if people start to pay attention and take action. Awareness is nothing without ACTION. You can ask me how. I have a ton of ideas of what you can do. But please, don’t ask if you are not going to help.