2017 Finale Video

Monday, October 8, 2012

Is Childhood Cancer Taboo?

I am enjoying every minute of my vacation so tonight I want to share something I read today. Please take this to heart because there needs to be change for our kids fighing cancer.

Is Childhood Cancer Taboo?

Before my son Cole was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer when he was 4 years old I remember how painful it was to watch a St. Jude Children's Research Hospital commercial. As soon as I saw those precious little children with their heads bald from chemotherapy or radiation treatments, their small bodies connected to IV tubes and meanacing looking monitors I would quickly change the channel. I just could not bear to watch children in such pain and suffering. Many have told me that they felt the same way. I would dutifully make a donation each year thinking that at least I was doing something to help children with cancer, but other than that I would block childhood cancer out of my mind. Maybe subconsciously believing that if I didn't think about it, it didn't exist, and if I didn't think about it, it surely would not happen to my children.
In June of 2010 it did happen to one of my children and I was forced to face the horror of childhood cancer that I had closed my eyes to for so long. Within days of Cole's diagnosis my family began to live one of those commercials. I watched my active, silly, beautiful little boy suffer through painful surgeries, I saw the fear in his eyes as he looked down at the broviac line surgeons implanted in his chest, monitors surrounded him, toxic chemo medications pumped into him, he was injected with numerous painful needles, the look on his face screamed, "what is happening to me, why are you letting them do this!" I felt so very helpless.

The absolute terror of what Cole, my family, and so many other children and families have been forced to endure is something no family, no parents want to think about. How many of you have changed the channel as I did because children with cancer was too painful to face? This past September I became angry about the lack of attention and discussion during "Childhood Cancer Awareness Month" I wondered why this was the case. Was it because as some have told me there is not enough profit for the pharmaceautical companies to promote and invest in childhood cancer research? Is it because those of us who are unwillingly thrown into the "childhood cancer community" have not yet learned how to organize our cause as well as those in the "breast cancer community" have? Is it because the approximately 10,000 children diagnosed with cancer and the 3000 children who die from it each year are not large enough numbers to warrant greater attention? Or is it because childhood cancer is taboo, too painful to think about or to discuss? One mother who lost her little boy to cancer about a year ago recently told me that she contacted many radio stations asking if she could go on their shows to talk about the need for greater childhood cancer awareness and funding, she never heard back from any of them. I was lucky enough to get on one of those shows a couple of weeks ago, before we went on air the show's host told me he wanted to try to "lighten things up a bit, try not to make it too depressing" Well there is nothing "light" about it, it is nothing but depressing! That is the challenge we face in striving for greater childhood cancer awareness, I'm afraid that companies are hesitant to air commercials about childhood cancer awareness and color their products with gold because it may depress people and be bad for business. Could that also be why the NFL does not honor our Heroes and Angels with gold in September? Could that also be why the White House and towns and communities do not illuminate their buildings and commons with gold lights in September? If that is the case we must destroy the taboo of childhood cancer. We can only do that by being persistant, by being vocal, by gathering as one loud voice for our children! We must not quit until we get the job done!

A year ago in October I was in our yard raking leaves with Cole, his twin brother Troy, and his big sister Tara. They had all asked me if they could help. After about 15 minutes Troy and Tara became bored and ran off to play in the leaf piles. Cole stayed with me working hard, soon it started to get late and cold and I was tired, I told Cole we could finish tomorrow. Cole insisted that he wanted to keep going until the job was done. He was weak from the cancer and toxic treatments that had tormentd him for more than a year but he kept going. He slowly raked piles of leaves into his little wagon pulled them to a neat pile beneath our porch and kept working until he was satisfied. He did not quit until the job was done.

I wear a chain around my neck with beads that were made from ground up fragments of Cole's leaf pile. It is a constant reminder of his strength and determination. And it is a motivation for me to never quit, to keep on working until the job of increasing Childhood Cancer Awareness is done! Please help me break the taboo of childhood cancer, let me know how you feel about this, share it with your friends and family, post this story on other Facebook pages, get the discussion of the need for greater awareness going and keep it going. If we do this we will see Gold next September, everywhere.
Tony Stoddard (Cole's dad)

Please LIKE and SHARE http://www.facebook.com/yellowandgoldforcole

No comments: