A Day in the Life of a Child with Cancer

Grace S.

Staff Writer

Each New Year’s Eve most make the same generic resolutions to improve their bodies or some other aspect of their lives. Only what about the people who just wished they could survive? Childhood cancer is becoming an epidemic in today’s society as approximately 12,500 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer each year. Shockingly, only 25% of those children live to see their next birthday. The causes for most of the childhood cancers have remained unknown, which is why continued research is so important. September was childhood cancer awareness month; it is imperative for people to step up and spread the word about childhood cancer so that those suffering can receive much-needed help and researchers can continue their quest for a cure.

Spreading the word about childhood cancer will benefit the cancer-touched children in more ways than one. Children who have had some form of life-threatening disease like cancer tend to feel as though they have lost their own faith, their lifeline so to speak. They go from being joyful little ones to being kids who now realize that they could die; no one should have to face that fear, especially a child. After their first week of treatment, the child begins to feel the effects of chemotherapy. Just imagine one day a child goes from being completely healthy to not being able to walk on his or her own. Then comes the hair loss, and for the patients, it is a physical reminder of the nightmare they are going through.

The hospitals where the children get treatment can provide certain therapy options such as wild animal visits and beauty days to make the patients happy. On beauty days all the nurses at the hospital will gather all the female patients and do their make-up and hair for fun photo shoots. On animal days, local animal shelters and zoos bring baby animals to let the children learn about various wildlife. The joy patients get when receiving a chance to play with the animals is priceless, yet with the budget hospitals have now, these experiences are few are far between. The hospitals can provide much more than therapy options to make the young patients happy with the right amount of money, and that is what makes Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) so special.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta uses monetary donations to provide its young patients with many activities such as art classes, craft time, video game days, and sometimes story time. These activities are made to take the patients’ minds off their illness and bring joy into their lives. The hospital coordinates local zoos and animal shelters bringing in animals to entertain and comfort the children while they are receiving treatment. Volunteers at CHOA provide the patients with toys and video games. Some volunteer families choose to give out blankets, hats, and socks to keep the patients warm and comfortable. Sophomore Kasey Lawton said, “If the volunteers continue with donating, it will show the patients that even random people they do not know still care and are willing to be there during this fight.” The patients in these hospitals across America need the comfort and faith that everything will work out in the end. In providing them with gifts and toys, a single person can show compassion for other people around them. 

Not only could donations help to fight and treat childhood cancers, but the money can also protect children from the physical scars left by cancer. Today’s modern cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, can affect a child’s growth, fertility, and endocrine system. Some children are no longer able to sustain their immune system. The amount of research being put into childhood cancer is creating a bigger rift between a patient’s treatment and recovery time. It seems that the patients are having a more difficult time after their treatment rather than during because their treatments are causing problems after cancer. In the past twenty years there has been only one new cancer drug approved by the government, and that just is not cutting it for the young patients. Doctors have been working diligently to find better treatments, but the doctors can only do so much on a limited budget. Donations make a significant impact for the research programs of childhood cancer.

Childhood cancer is much more than a medical problem; it is also a budget issue. Four percent out of the billions of dollars the government gives to cancer research each year is distributed to childhood cancer research; not only does limited funding cause stress for doctors, but parents have been forced to take it upon themselves to raise the money. Fundraisers, bake sales, and donations cannot save all the children, but it does help with the funding for their medicines. If everyone comes together for such an inspiring cause, everyone can really help out the suffering patients. The way for WHS to do that is by getting together and facing this cause head-on to show more and more awareness towards childhood cancer.  Students can raise money through bake sales, hat drives, or anything that can make a difference. WHS students are in control of how they can deal with this subject; they are the key to making a change. As one united front, we can raise a great quantity of money to help fight back against childhood cancer.

WHS has already done a breast cancer fundraiser through the volleyball team. In the upcoming months, Interact Club will also be doing a hat and sock collection for the sick patients at CHOA. Please go help out. It all comes back to how the people are in power of change. WHS students can contribute to fundraisers at football games and to bingo nights that the Interact Club will hold in the near future. For everyone to come together for such a great cause and gain so much insight on life is literally a miracle. September is childhood cancer awareness month, and while it went by with few people even knowing it, it is never too late to make a contribution and to make a difference. When someone sees a donation sign or fundraiser poster, do not just walk away, as even the smallest amounts can make a momentous difference.

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