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Caffeine

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I will be the first to admit that I never knew the impact childhood cancer could have on an individual or family. My first ‘run-in’ with cancer was right before the movies when employees passed around collection cans before previews began. Now, please don’t get too upset with me here because I was about ten years old. But man, I found it annoying plus the can was just as light as it was in the beginning, which translates into adults thinking the same thing that I was thinking. That said at 10, I was blind to the horrors; in some cases, that’s how it should be, right? Childhood cancer or cancer, in general, shouldn’t be a ‘thing.’ Now my life is childhood cancer and trying to convince those, like that ten-year-old girl, that it is awful and ugly.

Let’s be real. I run campaigns, have a podcast, and post awareness videos on every social media platform I have, from Facebook to TikTok and now this blog. Every year I ask for nothing on my living son’s birthday, Brody’s birthday, or mine. Instead, I ask people to skip one cup of coffee in the morning they would usually buy and put it towards a donation to the campaign I am running that particular year. I should easily pull in my $10000 goal every year. I am grateful, don’t get me wrong, but instead, I get the $10-$100 dollar gifts from family and friends. As I see my son playing with them, I see research hours, granted wishes, and the possibility of a cure. This year the big gift was a crazy expensive remote car and a gift card to an online store. And I don’t speak outside of both sides of my mouth here, this year I started donations ‘in the name of’ instead of material gifts for my friends’ children.

I am copy and pasting this but, “Less than 4% of the federal budget for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancer. Each day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States, which means 15,590 children in the U.S. are diagnosed each year.” (Alex’s Lemonade Stand). Gifts make me cry. Silly right? It brings me right back to that movie seat when I was young and naïve. It brings me back to when I told a friend my son had cancer only to be ignored. Later that very friend came to me in near tears apologizing upon receiving his child’s diagnosis. Childhood Cancer is rare, I think not.

Now, I am not saying to support my campaigns but help someone’s drive. To me, it is absolutely bananas how many people still think cancer is smiling bald kids. It’s not their fault, its mainstream media. They have it wrong, showing seemingly happy and healthy kids might keep someone from changing the channel, but it’s a lie, or is it? The number of likes I see for children that are sick, hooked up to machines, or look like they are at death’s door is by far less than those that are having a good day and up and dancing. Don’t believe me, take a look? It is hard to watch children struggling or dying. Hell, being a caretaker or parent, oh man, the trauma is just permanent and damages your soul.

Why all this jibber-jabber? Something needs to be said for the lack of real, intense, and in your face reality of childhood cancer. It is torturing a child so that they can live, and if they do live, most are faced with everlasting complications. So yes, sit and mull over that cup of coffee that could have been given up for research, dreams, or more. You might think that’s a bit much, but try the words, “Your child has cancer and has a thirty percent chance of survival. His chemotherapy treatments and radiation will cause a series of side effects, ranging from infertility and possible cancer recurrence. The radiation will affect his growth, and in his amputated leg (from the knee down), it’s likely the ‘stump’ will not grow past the size of a five-year-old’s. We will give you a moment together. I am so sorry”. In the end, he passed, at home, in the most peaceful way we could provide. He was hooked up to morphine, couldn’t eat, and he laid comatose until his heart gave out. I think he’s worth more than a cup of coffee, do you?

 

To hear more from Rosaria, please visit her podcast at http://livingwithscanxiety.buzzsprout.com/