*This article is dedicated to the two courageous teens from my high school Kevin and Sam, and also to my dear family friend Bob.*
Cancer, it is a terrible disease and is capable of claiming millions of lives. Cancer is also a blind disease; both adults and children are too often struck with this sickness. When we think of this disease, or hear the word cancer, we are extremely saddened by the usual image that comes to mind of a sick adult. Not that it’s any better, but we certainly never picture a child fighting a cancer battle. Although we may not want to think about it, childhood cancer is very much alive. I never knew just how alive though until recent events at my own school.
High school is generally a joyous time for teenagers. They are still young enough to have fun and be worry free, but at the same time take on more independence. One’s high school career is usually filled with football games, parties, homecoming, prom, senior trip, etc. Teens are at the peak of maturity during this time and nearing the adult world, so students are in the mood to celebrate. Unfortunately, though, sometimes the harsh realities of life and the fact that we are only human come rapidly into play, even during times in life that are supposed to be fun. The plain truth is that, sometimes, bad things happen to good people– even young people.
At my high school there are currently two kids fighting cancer, and that is ultimately what inspired me to write this article. It was bad enough when my classmates and I heard that the popular football quarterback had relapsed into cancer, but it was even worse when we learned of a sophomore who had been diagnosed as well. We are doing everything we can to help our fellow students. I’ve never been so proud of those who attend my high school. Students are making and selling bracelets, sweatshirts, t-shirts, etc. and taking donations to help ease the battle our classmates are fighting. Our goal is to not just help out the families of the effected students though. Our mission is to also raise awareness of childhood cancer and the fact that the medicine needed to help in the treatment is running dangerously low.
Methotrexrate is a drug with one of its uses being to help treat childhood leukemia. Oncologists are now saying that the supply is simply not meeting the demand for it and that the lack of this drug could leave thousands of kids to die of a mostly curable disease. One of the nation’s largest suppliers of the injectable drug has suspended operations on the count of “significant manufacturing and quality concerns”. This is an enormous problem and I hope the F.D.A. does their best to correct it. Leukemia is a disease that was at one time 100 percent incurable, and now it is curable in 90 percent of cases! The statistics give me hope, but this medicine is essential, and there needs to be a way for it to be kept in a much larger supply in hospitals.
We all know cancer is not something anyone, let alone a child, should go through. The reality though is sometimes things like this happen and we must not get caught up in asking why. We must deal and accept the facts, but at the same time keep hope and seek out ways to raise awareness. Awareness is knowledge, and knowledge is power; and power is what fights back. Thank you.
Photo Credit: Bas Van Uyen from Flickr