On this, the first day of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I write this thinking of all of the wonderful children I have met and yet to meet, who have endured toxic and barbaric treatment for cancer. Those children who have experienced physical, emotional and social trauma beyond our imagination. Those children who are still in treatment, those in remission and those children who endured so much but went too soon.
This is written for you and your smile. The smile that hides minutes, hours and months of suffering. The suffering that we could not stop or save you from. I remember that smile in the early days which silently asked us what was going on. We couldn’t answer, we didn’t really understand. That smile that disappeared for weeks as steroids and intense chemotherapy engulfed your young body. The smile that returned, hesitantly, knowing that a future was a long way off, unsure of what was going to happen next. That smile that took all the energy to muster when you were terrified. The smile that turned into a scream when you were admitted to hospital because of an infection; you knew what was ahead, you knew you would be separated from your family, again.
At your tender age, you know that your smile makes others feel better. I want to thank you for your smile. Your smile is a symbol of your courage and strength. People could learn so much from you, from what you’ve been through and continue to face on a daily basis.
Research into new and kinder treatments for Childhood Cancer is underfunded world-wide. The argument is that it is rare and therefore does not warrant equal funding that adult cancer receives. Childhood Cancer is not rare – that smile lives next door, in your child’s class, in your child’s football team.
I will do all I can to raise awareness of the story behind that smile. During the month of September I intend to write #ablogaday. I have no schedule, no titles only ideas. These blogs will reflect the thoughts, feelings and impact of our experience of Childhood Cancer on Felix, our family and our community.
Please help us raise awareness by relentlessly liking, sharing and retweeting. If we get on people’s nerves, that’s great – we’re having an impact!
Thank you already – let’s shout as loud as we can.