Friday, September 7, 2012

Do you know how many " Awareness Months" we could partcipate in? Ridiculous.

I have often joked that if I began fundraising for every diagnosis Zoey has or has had, that people would for sure think I was running a scam. And also, do you know how many months of "Awareness" I could post about here if I wanted to? Well, just for fun, cuz this stuff is what I call fun,  lets see what we have in Zoey's bag of tricks:

Childhood Cancer Awareness is September


Congenital Heart Defect Awareness is February

Pediatric Stroke Awareness is May

Cerebral Palsy Awareness is March

Down syndrome Awareness is October

And rounding out the awareness months, unless I forgot one, which is entirely possible, lastly we have Epilepsy Awareness is November.

Geesh, could almost make a rainbow with those ribbons couldn't we? And I certainly would not be finding myself void of topics and information to pass along daily. But the truth is, who would want to read all that?  And would I really want to write about all those things, all the time? Nope. I sure wouldn't. Certainly would not be fair to Zoey when we have always believed that those diagnoses, anyone of them, do not and will not define our little love. She is so much more then all of them.

But certain things cannot be ignored. Like for instance, when I read all those diagnoses, I am struck by the magnitude of each one of them and how hard she has had to fight and continues to fight daily and how unfair much of it has been. But if I acknowledge all of that, I must also acknowledge the gift of her mere existence today, despite it all. The odds were stacked against her from the get go. But here she is, in all of her beautiful glory, saying, " Really, is that all you got?"

So, I have a point, I really do. And it is this. I stand in awe of my daughter. I recognize each one of these diagnoses/ disorders and the challenges that have come with them. Separate they are overwhelming. Combined they are mindblowing. But a few of them, two specifically, changed me irrevocably.

September is "Childhood Cancer Awareness Month". And this one, this one I have no idea where to begin. Most of my feelings on our life as we were inaugurated into the world of pediatric cancer, can be found in my blog archives from October 2008 through June 2009, as we basically lived at CHLA as Zoey fought her way to cure. And since those days, my blog has been graced by the faces of far too many of our fighter friends, waging war against something that most could never comprehend. We have lost many of our friends. We have been schooled in types of cancer, that before Zoey's diagnoses, we had never even heard of: Neuroblastoma, Medulloblastoma. Whilm's tumor, various forms of leukemia and the list goes on and on.

All I know is how much I HATE cancer. I have a friend, who dislikes that word 'hate', but I have to tell you, I really do hate cancer. It is an insidious disease whose effects ripple into every facet of ones life. I have seen more death and dying then I could have ever imagined. I have seen things that I wish no one should ever have to glimpse. I have watched parents stand by helplessly as they cruelly have to relinquish control of their child's body to something that often cannot be controlled. I have stood by helplessly watching not only my very own child but a floor full of children from infant to young adults, be assaulted by chemicals so harsh and brutal that you stand in utter disbelief that those same chemicals are being pumped into human bodies. But you allow it to be done because it begins and ends with the love of your child and the hope that they will reach cure.

*Childhood cancers are the #1 disease killer of children

*One in every 300 children will develop cancer before age 10

*One out of every five children diagnosed with cancer dies. 

Sobering statistics. Statistics that have got change. Spread the word this month. Become a Bone Marrow Donor if you are able. Its simple and easy and you just could save a life. How many people in their lives can say that?

I have only barely skimmed the surface of all that I could share but I will leave you with that and ask you, what will you do this month to join the monumental fight against childhood cancer? Zoey thinks if she did all that she did to make it to this day, you can certainly do something. Anything. Just do it. 


karen gerstenberger said...

Wow, Heather. I didn't realize that sweet Zoe could wear all of those ribbons at the same time! She is truly a survivor extraordinaire.

Thank you for this post, and for commenting on my blog. I have been working to expand my writing beyond cancer and grief, but this month I had to go there. We will be "table captains" at the Ben Towne Foundation's benefit later this month, and I canNOT wait. I love Dr. Jensen and what he is doing, and I love Carin & Jeff for what they are doing. There is a lot to be hopeful about!

Lastly, thank you for giving us a glimpse of your thoughts in Elizabeth's awesome video. What a gift to be part of it!

Blessings to you and yours.

Elizabeth said...

That Zoey. Oh, my.

That Heather. Oh, my.

krlr said...

Were we all so resilient.

And annual labs for my little one, being scheduled now.

colleen said...

Amazing, AMazing.... i love all your posts. So much to be thankful

Michelle said...

Goodness that 1 in 5 is sobering for sure. I had no idea the stats were that low. Zoey is a fighter, and wow, she sure can bring awareness for many months and many issues! Kayla has 2. Besides the Ds, she has Celiac Disease, not nearly as frightening to deal w/as cancer though.

Lindsay Marie said...

Zoey is an amazing little girl. She inspires me :)

Victoria Strong said...

Wow! Now that is some perspective. But you are right to stand in awe of Miss Zoey... and many of us stand in awe of you! For many, just one ribbon is enough to destroy a family. For many, just one diagnosis is too much to bare. But there you all are constantly putting one foot in front of the other. You are NEVER GIVE UP. Miss beautiful Zoey full of grace is NEVER GIVE UP. And you both inspire us daily!

Jenni said...

I stumbled across your blog today for the first time. I spent some time earlier this evening reliving posts from my daughter's AV canal repair, thinking how unbelievable it was we went through it and how amazing our Grace is for fighting through it.
And then I read about Zoey. And your family. I am truly in awe at the strength, faith and courage you all display, especially of that little light, Zoey. Blessings!

Melissa said...

Every time the gold ribbons start getting posted in Sept on FB I think about Zoey.