Earlier this month I found myself distraught over the various stories of how cancer has taken the life of little kids, denying them of their childhood and from living life in general. As a father of 5, it was very emotional. My biggest fear as a father is to have one of my kids diagnosed with a terminal illness, or with a disease that will affect the rest of their lives. I would hate feeling helpless and not being able to do anything to prevent it or cure it, etc… I hate just the thought of it.
When I found myself in that situation, I promised I would figure out a way to get involved and raise childhood cancer awareness…. Although, after some research, the only thing I will be able to do to help the local All Children’s Hospital is to donate some time and toys for the kids in their facility, I have yet to find a method to raise awareness. So, I’ve decided that this is my method. My blog. Sharing my blog post with my Facebook friends in hopes that I can inspire others to help the cause and raise awareness and funds to fight cancer and to fight how the cancer research dollars are being allocated.
This is the story that got me holding back tears as I read through it: http://www.upworthy.com/a-grieving-phoenix-mom-received-the-tribute-of-a-lifetime-from-taylor-swift?c=reccon3 The story of Ronan. A 4 year old that lost his battle to cancer. How f..ed up is that?! A happy little boy was deprived of his childhood. His mom was deprived of his childhood. Devastating. Unfair.
His mom, in all her bravery, decided to share their story via their blog:http://rockstarronan.com/ In her blog, she shares the ups and the downs; she shares the story of how/when they find out and their fight against f..ing cancer. Reading her blog is a lesson to all of us on what things should matter in life.
Because of their blog and their open and honest story, Taylor Swift got wind of it. Being the amazing person she is, she began following it. And after learning about Ronan going to heaven after losing his battle to cancer, she wrote Ronan a song (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ronan-single/id560227510) and asked Ronan’s mom if she could perform it live in the SU2C concert in 2012. After being granted permission, she also shared with Maya (Ronan’s mom) that her blog had inspired the song and that she would like to add Maya as a Co-Author of the song; even the profits of the song will go to help the Ronan Thompson Foundation! You can take a listen here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0J2OF1S3iSI That was the first and only time Taylor would perform that song live until this past August when, during her 1989 tour in Glendale, AZ (Maya and Ronan’s hometown), she invited Maya and her family to come out. With Maya’s permission, she performed Ronan live for the second time ever. Here is her emotional performance from that night! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0sFiK6XeaA
Now you can understand how vulnerable I felt that day reading and digging more into the story. I could not stop thinking about Maya and Ronan. I could not stop empathizing with her and putting myself in her shoes and feeling my heart so heavy the more I read about it. I could not stop thinking about my kids; thinking about how helpless I am. How helpless we are when it comes down to cancer prevention, treatment, etc. How f..ing scary it is and how little I’ve done to raise awareness about it. So, here is the beginning of my contribution – sharing the story. And also, my promise to my kids that I will do my best to become an advocate for Childhood Cancer awareness. It’s the least I can do. I’d love it if you join me in this battle.
If you want to help, here are 5 ways:
- Donate or volunteer to St Jude: https://shop.stjude.org/GiftCatalog/donation.do?cID=14262&pID=24671
- Donate or volunteer to All Children’s: https://www.allkids.org/foundation/get-involved/volunteer-in-the-hospital
- Donate or hold a stand from Alex’s Lemonade Stand: http://www.alexslemonade.org/
- Download Ronan: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ronan-single/id560227510
- Share this story.
God bless you Ronan and Maya. God bless every kid and every parent that is or has battled with cancer. God bless every cancer patient, cancer survivors and their families. God, please bless and protect my kids, my family and friends.
Childhood Cancer: You suck!
“I remember your bare feet down the hallway, I love you to the moon and back” – Ronan, Taylor Swift.
Childhood Cancer Facts:
- Childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded.
- Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the U.S.
- One in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer by the time they are 20 years old.
- Every year, an estimated 250,000+ new cases of cancer affect children under the age of 20 worldwide.
- Two-thirds of childhood cancer patients will have long lasting chronic conditions from treatment.
- Childhood cancer occurs regularly, randomly and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region. In the United States, the incidence of cancer among adolescents and young adults is increasing at a greater rate than any other age group, except those over 65 years.
- Childhood cancer is not just one disease. It is made up of a dozen types and countless subtypes.