Mr. Alan, first let me say to you that I am sorry that your family has faced the very difficult struggle of raising two children with autism. I frankly cannot imagine how difficult that has to be for you, your wife, your extended family and friends. I am assuming it is sufficiently tough enough that you felt the need to share your story with the world in the manner in which you did. Having a child with autism was a significant concern of mine prior to the birth of my first child Alexis back in January 2006. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. Alan's story, he has written a book titled I Wish My Kids Had Cancer: A Family Surviving the Autism Epidemic. I will admit, I have not had a chance to read the book yet. I probably will not take the opportunity to read the book either. First, I have not had much time recently to do any type of pleasure reading. But more importantly, I am more than mildly offended by your chosen and blatantly ignorant title.
You see Mr. Alan, until April 10, 2008, I worried about having a child with autism. I was worried about having a child with severe autism and never being able to connect. But then, on April 10, 2008 cancer knocked on our door and without an invitation took up residence in our then 27-mont-old daughter Alexis. And this was not the "good" kind of cancer Mr. Alan. You know, the cancer that you must allude to in your title. The, "go to St. Jude's, go bald, stay at Ronald McDonald House, and then live happily ever after cancer." No Mr. Alan, this was the "your child will be dead within six to nine months from the time of diagnosis." "There are no known treatments." That is the type of cancer that made a life for itself in my daughter's brain.
My daughter battled each and every day for 33 months before she ultimately was stolen away from us on January 14, 2011. I watched as she took her last breath. I watched as her casket was lowered into the ground. That is the type of cancer that found my child. Still wish your kids had cancer Mr. Alan? The simple fact of the matter is that many children do not survive the diagnosis of cancer. Having your child diagnosed with cancer means that there is a very real chance that they will not live. For those who are lucky enough to be labeled survivor, the path beyond that designation is anything but pleasant. Along the road to being labeled a survivor, most of these children are pumped full of 30, 40 and 50-year-old poisons that indiscriminately destroy everything in their path. The child is left unable to eat, sleep, leave a sterile setting, or lift their head off of a pillow. Families lose their houses, jobs, marriages, friends and everything in between. I could inundate you with numbers and statistics, Mr. Alan; however, I am simply trying to demonstrate to you that you have it completely wrong when it comes to your wish that your children had cancer. Feel free to Google "childhood cancer", or even take a few minutes to read a little on my website. Maybe I could change your mind about what you wish for your children.
I am curious if this is the picture of childhood cancer that you had in mind, Mr. Alan? Many parents who hear the words "your child has cancer" have walked the same path that my family walked. In fact, I know more parents and caregivers who have lost a child to cancer than those who have had a child that survived. I am simply here to say to you, Mr. Alan, be careful what you wish for in life. You have every right to pen this book and tell the world your story. In fact, I do not support the petitions directed towards Amazon seeking to have your book removed. You have every right to have your book in the stream of commerce. And, as I said in the beginning of this piece, I have no idea what each and every day is like in your house. I have no knowledge where on the "spectrum" your children fall. I truly feel for your family. There is one fact that I do know, Mr. Alan, and that is at the end of the day, no matter how difficult your life may be, you have the opportunity to actually see your child living and breathing in your house. So, I wish my child did not have cancer. I simply wish my child were healthy. And thus, I am simply suggesting that you educate yourself about the realities of childhood cancer. For many, it is a death sentence. In the future, please do not make such offensive and uneducated statements. I ask you Mr. Alan, do you still wish your kids had cancer?