September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. At PCFLV, we are committed to spreading the GOLD all year long. However, in September, we truly make it our mission. 30 Days, 30 Stories celebrates the children we know and love and the brave battles they fight and have fought, with their families by their sides. In celebrating these beautiful children and their stories, we hope to inspire you to join us in our mission to SPREAD THE GOLD in September and all year long!
On this last day of September, the last day of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, the story is about "The Next One." The family who is not a cancer family today, but will be tomorrow. The one who didn't see it coming, as none of us did. Each one of the precious faces you saw this month and in past years of 30 Days, 30 Stories was at one time just a "normal" kid. Learning ABC's, riding his bike, playing with her dolls, doing homework, throwing a tantrum, playing with friends, begging for one more cartoon before bedtime, living innocently...without the ugly cancer beast invited to the party of childhood. And then they were not. They became "the next one." The one in 43 that day. Kid one day, cancer warrior the next.
Look around at the kids you see today...the ones on the soccer field at your child's game, the ones in the grocery store sitting in the cart begging for candy, the ones heading to the mall to shop with friends...which one is next? It's the roll of the dice, a flip of the coin.
Thankfully, there are some really brilliant people out there working on changing that. Through the amazing work of pediatric cancer researchers, the cure WILL be found someday. And hopefully soon, there will not be the "next one."
In the meantime, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley will be here to support the families already in the fight; the ones who fought and are still feeling the emotional, physical, and financial ramifications; the ones who no longer have their child; the ones who were not yesterday but are today.
We will be sure they get gas and grocery store and hospital cafeteria gift cards to help financially.
We will have the next one's house cleaned so they can come home from the hospital to a clean and sanitized environment.
We will provide opportunities for them to meet other families that understand this journey, to connect, form bonds, and find support.
We will give moms and dads a chance to meet peers that walk in the same ill-fitting shoes as they do, the ones of a cancer parent.
We will give parents a safe place to send their kids to camp for a week, to just be kids for a week...with other kids just like them.
We will send the next one to local sporting events, something that may be out of reach financially during this time in their lives, so they can laugh and enjoy time as a family.
We will provide a college scholarship to each cancer warrior and survivor.
We will provide hugs and smiles, in an endless supply.
Because for the ones we already know and love and for each and every "next one"...until there is a cure, there is PCFLV.
-written by Michelle Zenie, Executive Director of PCFLV and cancer mom