“Going Gold” in September for pediatric cancer may not be something you are familiar with. You may have seen it in your social media feed and you may have scrolled right past it. I did that too. Until December of 2013 when something made me stop.
A friend’s post asking for “Prayers” for this little girl. This beautiful, happy, seemingly healthy little girl with her younger brothers who reminded me so much of my daughter. You can learn her full story here: Jennifer Lynn Kranz.
I’m not even the type to pray, but something compelled me to open that blog written by Jennifer’s mom Libby, and what came out was the most horrific, the most excruciatingly unfair, earth-shattering yet beautiful flood of emotions I can honestly say I have ever experienced. You see, I lived in that world where you don’t know – you just don’t! But once you do, you can never un-know, or at least you shouldn’t.
What I learned about pediatric cancer over the next week changed my life as I knew it:
- Every day, 36 children are diagnosed with cancer.
- 7 children in the U.S. will die every day from cancer.
- Less than 4% of the government’s cancer research budget goes toward pediatric cancer.
- In the last 20 years, only 3 new drugs were developed for pediatric cancer. In contrast, in 2012 alone, 23 drugs were developed for adult cancer use.
But the biggest thing I learned, the thing that really shook me, was that Jennifer had a type of brain tumor that had a 0% survival rate. There is no cure, there was no treatment plan, there was no HOPE. What??! In this century with all of our amazing doctors and advanced science and medicine, you’re telling me there is something we have absolutely no chance at fixing in our children? DIPG is a death sentence, and a terrifying one. Upon diagnosis, the average survival is 9 months. Jennifer got 3 ½. It was never a fair fight.
Out of the Kranz family’s grief and rage and determination was born Unravel Pediatric Cancer. In their own words, “Unravel is a nonprofit organization working to spread knowledge about the grim realities of pediatric cancer and the devastating impact from the lack of funding. We supply the information, tools and support to individuals and communities that want to help create change – because good people want to do good things but sometimes they need help getting started. All monies raised by and for Unravel will go directly to the fight against pediatric cancer. In addition, Unravel partners with other nonprofits to strengthen our efforts. We do all of this with one goal in mind; we will unravel pediatric cancer.”
Now that you know, I hope you’ll learn more. September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, and there are so many ways you can get involved and help! I have been a volunteer for Unravel since the day it began. One of the most unique and FUN ways Unravel raises awareness in September is through their “Fluttering” campaign. We participate every September, using our ninja skills each night to place a dozen dragonflies into the front yard of some lucky house with a packet of paperwork teaching them about pediatric cancer and spreading Jennifer’s story – My kids love fluttering, and the sneakiness of trying not to get caught!
Unravel San Diego has a lot going on as well! I am so grateful to San Diego Mom’s Blog for supporting Unravel as our exclusive Social Media Sponsor Partner for the 2nd year in a row at our biggest fundraising event, Unravel The Night, but also for inviting me to share my passion and Unravel’s mission with all of our readers in a special Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month 4-part blog feature in partnership with SDMB Cares. Follow along for more information on pediatric cancer awareness, Unravel San Diego events, and how YOU can make a difference. I hope you will GO GOLD with us this September. Because you aren’t a “cancer mom” until you are.
To learn more about Unravel please visit our website www.unravelpediatriccancer.org.
To learn more about San Diego Events, visit our event page San Diego Events.
To chat, find out more, donate or get involved email me at [email protected]
Until there is a cure…….