We will never walk together over the fields of earth,
Never hear the birds in the morning.
Oh, I have lived with you and loved you
And now you are gone away,
Gone where I cannot follow
Until I have finished all of my days.
Before Landen was diagnosed I knew, vaguely, that kids could get cancer... but it was one of those "That's awful, but it's so rare that it could never happen to my Bug" sort of things. Surprise-- childhood cancer is NOT rare. Landen and I have been going to MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital in Houston for the last two years, and in that time the number of pediatric patients coming to MDA for treatment has doubled.
While we were in-patient this last year, Landen (and I) made friends with a girl named Hannah who is just a little bit older than him. She has a brain tumor and she's still fighting-- but the doctors have only given her a 5% chance of survival.
Hannah and Landen hunted Easter eggs together in the pediatric wing in March, and we've kept in touch with them via phone calls and emails when we didn't see them in-patient or at the clinic. Recently, her mom raised a lot of money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, and she has said that she's going to stay bald (and tell people who ask her why she's bald about Hannah's story to raise awareness for childhood cancer) until Hannah is cured. Hannah and her mom came to Landen's funeral-- I pray that I won't have to go to hers.
Five-freaking-percent chance of survival. What the hell kind of number is that?!
Please pray for Hannah and her family, and for all of the other families facing this struggle every day-- and for the ones who will be facing it tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that... and if you could, please say a prayer for me and my family as well. The day-to-day may get easier with time, but nothing will every make it "better."
- Each year, roughly 13,500 children 19 years old and younger are diagnosed with cancer in the United States.
- On average, 36 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer EVERY DAY in the United States.
- 1 in 5 children diagnosed with cancer will die within 5 years.
- 1 in 3 children diagnosed with cancer will not live out a normal life-span.
- The causes of most childhood cancers are UNKNOWN. At present, childhood cancer cannot be prevented.
- Childhood cancer occurs regularly, randomly, and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region.
- Cancer is the LEADING cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the United States.
- Childhood cancers affect more potential patient-years of life than ANY other cancer, except breast and lung cancer.
- Cancer kills more children than AIDs, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and congenital anomalies COMBINED.
- In the last 20 years, the FDA has approved only TWO drugs for childhood cancer. Half of all chemotherapies used for children's cancer are OVER 25 YEARS OLD.
- Some pediatric brain tumors are terminal upon diagnosis and NO new protocols have been developed in the last 30 YEARS.
- Research and development for new drugs from pharmaceutical companies comprises 60% of funding for adult cancer drugs, but close to ZERO for childhood cancers.
- In spite of this, the NCI spends 96% of its budget on adult cancers and only 4% of its budget on children's cancers.
Those statistics were taken from a much larger list on the People Against Childhood Cancer website. Even more information can be found on the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's website and the American Childhood Cancer Organization's website, as well as in many other places around the internet.