Throughout September, when I’ve not been at work, I’ve been wearing a pair of gold shoes…
…Practical? No. They don’t fit that well as they are slightly too big for my skinny feet, plus they don’t exactly keep me warm in the Scottish climate. But there’s a specific reason why I’ve been wearing them as much as I can. Because we need better treatments for childhood cancers to help kids like Markell.
You’ve heard me mention Patrice’s sister, Anna. Anna’s family ‘introduced’ us to Kylie Myers. Anna and Kylie sadly both died having gone through months and months of chemotherapy and radiation for Ewing’s Sarcoma. If I’m not mistaken, Kylie’s Dad mentioned on social media that the treatment regimen Kylie was on was 40 years old. A lot of you know of Zach Sobiech. He, like Markell and Kylie’s friend Bailey, had osteosarcoma. There have been no new treatments for that type of cancer for over 20 years. However, researchers recently had a breakthrough at the University of Minnesota (which Zach’s fund helps) as they believe they’ve identified a way of discovering what genetic mutations cause reoccurrence of the disease. I continually pray for Bailey and other survivors I know of – that they never do have a reoccurrence of cancer. If you live near me, you’ll likely of heard of a local hero called Jak Trueman. He had a rare form of lymphoma. And there’s of course, Oliver. Oliver was 24 weeks old when he died. He had the awful luck of being born with cancer. His awesome parents (one of which I went to university with) have been raising funds to support childhood cancer research and families getting treatment in Ward 2 at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh where Oliver spent a lot of his short life. Had it not been for stinking cancer, Oliver would have been starting school this Autumn.
So what can you do?
Well there’s still over a week of September to go.
All over the USA, people are doing the Whipping Challenge…Donating $46 dollars to a childhood cancer charity and taking a cream pie to the face.
Wear Gold. Talia Castellano‘s family and friends are using the hashtag #AmpItUpGoGold and because of Talia’s love of make up and nail art encouraging folks to wear gold make up or nails. Take pictures. And when people ask why you are wearing so much gold…you can tell them.
Download Clouds and/or Beautiful Boy. Profits from the sales of these songs go to Childhood Cancer research.
Do something to support families who are going through a battle with this disease. Contact your nearest children’s hospital to find out what you can do. Many families have to travel for treatment – things like gift cards, raising money for better facilities in hospital accommodation, equipment/toys for the ward can be a huge encouragement. Most children’s hospitals have a charity (like Sick Kids Foundation in Edinburgh) and there may be something like CLIC Sargent villa, Teenage Cancer Trust ward or Ronald McDonald House.
Raise money for a Childhood Cancer charity. Sadly, very little funding goes into research of childhood cancers like Osteosarcoma, Ewing’s Sarcoma, Neuroblastoma, retinoblastoma ALL, AML, Wilm’s Tumour…and a lot of childhood cancers are so very different from adult cancers we probably all know of. Yes Childhood cancer is much rarer than adult cancers (1,600 kids compared to 320,500 adults), but there are much more adults to get cancer since child means anyone between 0-16ish and adult means anyone with in a 80+ year age range. Not only that but the current treatments for children are pretty horrific and have huge long term effects. They are not ‘cures’ when a kid needs a kidney transplant down the line, or a leg amputated, or have hearing loss, infertility or contract leukaemia years later. I also can’t help but notice the ‘survival rates’ they use mean they ‘live for at least 5 years’. It is the smaller foundations like Love Oliver, the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund, 1 Million 4 Anna that make a huge difference and are so important for funding research by partnering with hospitals/universities.
If you can, donate blood. A lot of childhood cancer patients will need blood and platelets at some point (if not at several points) during treatment. I used to be scared of this idea, as the sight of my own blood makes me light headed (yet I can totally deal with other people’s nose bleeds and head injuries no problem – go figure!). Blood donor centres are used to nervous donors! It is not painful, and if you tell them what makes you nervous they will do things to make the process easier for you. For me they allowed a friend to sit with me to distract me, and covered the tube in paper towels so I couldn’t see anything coming out of me. Another friend got to donate behind a screen so he couldn’t see anyone else either!
If you live locally to me, I’m also going to give you the opportunity to help ‘whip’ childhood cancer into submission. In exchange for a donation to Love Oliver, you will be allowed to smoosh a plate of skooshy cream* in my face. I’ll even let you take a picture of the results and post it on social media. If you want to take advantage of this opportunity, please do message me and I can make the appropriate arrangements. 🙂
*Skooshy Cream = Scottish term for whipped cream in a can. Not, as we proved on my old blog, a term I made up as my South African friend suspected.