Did you know that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?
I didn't but learned that it was on my dear friend Karen Gerstenberger's blog last night. I've written about Karen on this blog several times, helping her to promote her extraordinary book about her daughter Katie's struggle with and eventual death at age twelve from a hideous cancer that killed her in nine months. Katie happens to have been born on the exact same day and year as my Sophie, and there isn't a birthday that has passed for Sophie in the last five years, since I started reading Karen's blog, that I haven't thought of Katie, her short life and her beautiful parents and brother.
I also wrote here of Gus, a young boy in my neighborhood and friend of my son Oliver, who died this summer at the age of ten after a second battle with cancer. I haven't ever written of my childhood friend Annie who died when she was fourteen years old of leukemia, leaving her parents bereft of their only child. Despite the many, many years that have passed since her death, I can see her face clearly in my mind's eye, her sweet, gentle eyes and smile.
Karen makes an impassioned plea to be aware that childhood cancer is the number one leading cause of death in children. She describes the amazing efforts of The Ben Towne Childhood Cancer Research foundation in Seattle to cure cancer through immunotherapy, a novel approach that seeks to cure and treat without poison and the risk of permanent disability that current treatments carry.
Please click over to her blog and read more. Buy her book, a wonderful and informative read about "the way it really is in pediatric cancer." Wear a gold ribbon. Donate some money. Inform yourself. Don't be cynical and think your efforts will be for naught.
Honor Katie, Gus and Annie, all those children who you know and don't know who have died or suffer from this terrible disease.