My son, Dawson, was diagnosed with a rare cancer in November 2010 at the age of 11.  For those of you that don’t know much about pediatric cancer, you are not alone.

I was thrown into this world with the words “your child has cancer” and had no clue what all was about to transpire.  Dawson endured 5 months of very intense chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, 27 radiation treatments, too many hospital stays to begin to count, only to be told it was not gone yet.  More chemotherapy, more surgeries.

There are not many treatment options for children with cancer.  Most people don’t know that.  Pediatric cancer treatments usually involve adult chemotherapy drugs that are “watered down” to accommodate children’s sizes.  This usually results in a toxic treatment that leaves children with life-threatening side effects.  Dawson was no exception.  His chemotherapy proved to be too toxic for his body and was having no effect on his cancer.  Dawson died on April 4, 2013 after a 2 1/2 year battle with pediatric cancer.  Children with cancer are truly angels on earth.

They fight bravely and with a smile on their face.  Siblings are often left to other family members or neighbors or friends while parents are keeping vigil at the hospital, or travelling to distant hospitals that will offer treatment or a new clinical trial.  This was our world.  My life was upside down trying to cure Dawson while still trying to parent my other 3 children.  It is a difficult struggle for everyone.  I would do it again in an instant to have Dawson here with me again.  But I can’t do that, so now I am his voice.  It wasn’t until after Dawson died that I began to do intense research and realized how little is spent on pediatric cancer research.  The federal government spends billions on cancer research each year but a meager 4% of that is spent researching pediatric cancer.

That is unacceptable in my opinion.  Our children are worth far more than 4%.  No new pediatric cancer drugs have been introduced on the market since the late 1980′s.  As you read this, 30+ children will be diagnosed with cancer today.  7 children will die today from their cancer.  Aside from accidents, cancer is the leading cause of death among children.  I hope to keep everyone up to date on the childhood cancer community and what we are doing to change things, and also what you can do to help.