What if this picture was of your child?
Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the passing of Declan Carmical. If you don't know how the story of Declan touched my life, read last year's post here.
As I think about all that has happened in this past year, I realize that while life for us has moved on in a major way, life for Declan's family has not moved so much. They are still mourning. They are still suffering. They are still fighting his fight. One week shy of his first birthday Declan died of AT/RT cancer, one of the many types of pediatric cancers which still have no real understanding, as funds for research are minimal- the majority from the National Cancer Institute are reserved mostly for drugs and information on other cancers. While every type of cancer deserves attention and a voice, I fail to understand how pediatric cancer has more or less fallen to the wayside, neglected; lost in the darkness and tears in the hearts of each family who loses a child to it; stunted by the breast cancer awareness movement and others. Our future depends on our children. So why then do we fail to protect them from one of their most prominent enemies?
As I read many posts online today about Declan and his family, I remember how deeply I was struck with his story around this time last year. It affected me in such a way that for days after his passing, I was numb. I can't even imagine how his own mother felt; it's a grief of which I can only scratch the surface to understand. I know in my heart that all things work for good and that our lives have a purpose that far surpasses our understanding of it. I know this. And yet, as I am numbed again by the memory of Declan's suffering and death, the comfort from this fact is shadowed by pain, a pain I imagine is slighted greatly by that of Declan's family. There is no point to trying to understand why pediatric cancer exists; that question is reserved with the many others that are unable to be answered until we get to heaven. But it's possible to know - and we all deserve to know - why pediatric cancer research is not funded more, why there are so few advances in treatment, why our children aren't given more of a chance.
While life for us has moved on since this time last year, Declan's story and the fact that he is just one child of many who were failed by the NCI, has never left my mind. Three percent of NCI's funds goes toward pediatric cancer research. THREE percent. And that's for ALL types of pediatric cancer combined! The statistics for children developing pediatric cancer are astounding. It could be my child at any time. Or yours. It could be our children's children. Something has to be done. We need to wake up to these facts! We need to do more.
One small step you can take in helping this cause is to vote for Journey 4 A Cure in the Vivint Gives Back Project. Every day you can vote to help J4AC win money to fund actual research for pediatric cancer. It only takes 30 seconds or less, but it may just give another child 30 more years (or more!) on earth. Please vote! Our children deserve it.