National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month:
How Can We Help?
With the month of September bringing National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, it makes me reflect on how lucky I am, lucky to have healthy kids. Sure, they get the random cold or injury that drags us down and forces us to miss a few soccer games, days of work, or a handful of school days, but that’s no big deal. They’re healthy, really healthy.
According to the National Cancer Institute, on average each year, approximately two out of every ten children between the ages of birth and 19 years in the United States are diagnosed with cancer. The most common childhood cancers are forms of leukemia (blood cell cancers), brain and nervous system cancers, and tumors. Cancer is the number one cause of disease related death among children according to statistics compiled by the American Childhood Cancer Organization.
I share with my kids just how fortunate we are. I’m sure they are tired of hearing it but I think (hope) some of it sinks in. We have a nice home in a great town, with wonderful friends and family, plenty of food, clothes, and entertainment, all the essentials and much more. And we have good health. Of course there is always someone that has more of something, or a bigger or better whatever. There always will be. But there are MANY that have less, far less. I tell them not to lament over what they don’t have but appreciate what they do have. (“Mom, what does lament mean?”) The glass is half full, right? At least that’s what I see.
Thinking of those facing challenges or in need makes me want to help. What can I do? What can my kids do? How can I help? And eek, where will I find the time to do so?! Writing a check and making a monetary donation works but it isn’t really fulfilling. You don’t get that hands on, roll up your sleeves, break a sweat and get dirty satisfying feeling. You don’t SEE the benefits of your efforts.
How can we teach our kids to give and volunteer? I’ve found it sure works best if it is something they have a passion for and can relate to. It has to be doable, not too difficult and come from their heart, not because you’ve made them do it.
Here are a few of our efforts where the feel good reward just keeps on giving
Tri-Valley Animal Rescue
Socializing and exercising shelter animals promoting their adoptability
Town of Danville Lend a Hand Day
Helping local seniors with yard work and minor house repairs
Locks of Love
Donating hair for hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children with long-term medical hair loss
Note to self: I must be okay with doing what I can, and not feel guilty for what I cannot. (There’s that glass half full again.) My time will come when I can do more, maybe when I’m an empty nester. Pace myself, slow and steady wins the race.
Donations to benefit Kiss the Toad Creations
a wonderful organization that encourages
and recognizes children who are battling a life threatening illness
by presenting them with their official superhero cape.