This month, as we start preparing for Halloween and all of the other upcoming holidays, let’s take a minute to think about something much more important—childhood cancer. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Its purpose is to raise awareness about childhood cancer, and to raise money for research on it, because it’s so much more common than you’d think. Consider this:
- According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in U.S. children and teens.
- Seven children die each day of cancer in the U.S.
- The Centers for Disease Control and the Children’s Oncology Group estimate that 13,500 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer each year in the U.S.
- More than 40,000 children undergo cancer treatment each year, says CureSearch for Children’s Cancer.
But numbers cannot begin to describe the emotional and physical impact pediatric cancer has on brave young patients—who experience challenges and pain no child should ever have to face—and their families.
Unfortunately, pediatric cancer research is severely underfunded. In fact, the National Cancer Institute allocates only 4 percent of its funding to pediatric research, and the American Cancer Society and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society allocates even less than that. Instead, the majority of all funding goes to adult cancers. In 20 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has initially approved only one drug for childhood cancer.
So, how can you help? Andrea Verdone—mom of 3-year-old Natalie Grace, who’s been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia for over a year—recommends donating to The Truth 365. The Truth 365 campaign gives a voice to all children fighting all forms of cancer. It aims to shine a light on the state of childhood cancer research funding by uniting the childhood cancer community, all members of Congress, top pediatric oncologists, and several of the country’s most influential celebrities.
To help raise money for The Truth 365, Natalie and her mom started a dollar campaign back in April. They asked people to send them $1, with the goal of raising $50,000 by September 28 (Natalie’s 4th birthday). Every single dollar would go directly towards childhood cancer research via The Truth 365’s dream team of oncologists. Well, Natalie has more than doubled her goal. She has raised more than $100,000, with donations still tricking in! To learn more about Natalie and to donate to her dollar campaign, click here.
If you are unable to donate, you can still show your support for pediatric cancer patients and survivors by wearing gold. Let’s keep all of these brave young fighters and their families in our hearts and minds!