Today, Emilie is cancer free. 21 years ago, she was diagnosed with lymphocytic leukemia.
Today marks the 21st cancerversary for our daughter Emilie. She was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia on March 26, 1997.
She was 5 and in kindergarten.
Following 28 months of treatment, she was cured. 22 spinal taps, 12 courses of vincristine, countless shots, two surgeries and a broken leg later, she was a survivor (survivor’s rock BTW).
We owe her life to the American Cancer Society. Without a grant given to Dr. Sidney Farber, of the world-renowned Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Emilie would have been given six months at diagnosis.
You see, Dr. Farber began treating pediatric cancer patients in the 1950’s. His institution, the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation, began as a hospital to provide compassionate care and treatment to hundreds of children dying of cancer.
Back then, pediatric cancer had a 0% survival rate.
No child was surviving. Doctors were providing end-of-life care.
Then…along came the American Cancer Society who saw the potential in a doctor with an unequaled passion to cure children’s cancer. He was given a grant to develop methotrexate, a drug first discovered following the mustard gassing of American troops during WWI. And kids started surviving. Not just weeks, but months and then years.
It is still being used today to treat thousands of patients with hundreds of diseases, from cancer to rheumatoid arthritis, and is one of the most widely used chemotherapy drugs today.
Today, pediatric cancer has a survival rate of nearly 90%. That’s phenomenal, but please don’t be too impressed by that statistic. Broken down, it still means that 10% of children diagnosed with cancer will die. Put another way, approximately 1,503 children will die this year alone from cancer. And, I’m sorry, friends, that’s just too many for me to be cool with.
So…I need your help. If we’re going to put the cure for cancer firmly in the rearview mirror, it’s going to take a lot of money. Grants ain’t cheap and the government is apparently out of money.
Therefore, we all need to step up our game and support Relay for Life in any way possible.
You can go online to www.relayforlife.org and find our event, make a donation and call it a day.
You can go online to www.relayforlife.org, find our event, make a donation and join a team.
You can go online to www.relayforlife.org, find our event, make a donation, join a team and start fundraising.
You can buy brownies at every Relay bake sale you encounter. You can buy a raffle ticket at every stand represented by Washington County. You can buy the flip flops, the towels, the shirts, attend trivia night, whatever is being hawked in a bid to eliminate cancer. Just open your wallet!
I refuse to let you ride the bench. The time is now. Join me and others in funding the cure.
– Rebecca Ruehl