This year the parents of nearly 16,000 children in the United States will hear these devastating words: Your child has cancer.
No one should hear those words about their children – children like Jordyn, a competitive gymnast who was 9 years old in 2014 when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer. Her family turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for her treatment, and today she is back in training for the sport she loves.
This September, as we recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we can celebrate the strides made against childhood cancer that are helping children like Jordyn: Thanks to the work of St. Jude, the overall childhood cancer survival rate is now more than 80 percent, up from just 20 percent when the hospital opened in 1962.
But, we have tremendous work still to be done. Too many childhood cancers, including brain tumors and bone cancers, still have terrible survival rates. So, we must re-dedicate ourselves to tackling this disease until no child dies from cancer. With your support, and that of people across this country, St. Jude will continue to lead the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer.
Just like the early supporters who rallied around St. Jude founder Danny Thomas’ call to help build St. Jude, we can come together to help St. Jude and the patients and families battling childhood cancer in leading the charge today in the fight against this disease. And we can help keep Danny’s promise that no family will ever receive a bill from St. Jude – not for treatment, travel, housing or food – because we believe all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
This month, I urge you to join us at the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer. More than 60 communities are hosting this event on Sept. 17, 24 and 25 to raise funds and bring critically important awareness to the work of St. Jude and the impact of childhood cancer on far too many families. No matter your fitness level, this is an easy, fun, family-friendly and meaningful way to come together and celebrate the lives of children from communities everywhere.
“We knew St. Jude was the best place for childhood cancer,” said Chastity, Jordyn’s mom. “We knew that when families go to St. Jude, they have no worries. They’re going to be taken care of.”
With your help, St. Jude can continue to provide ground-breaking treatment and world-class care to children like Jordyn. Our doctors and scientists can press on in the search for cures for childhood cancer – and for other diseases that threaten a child’s life. We freely share our discoveries so that doctors and scientists can use that knowledge to save children in communities everywhere. And we can work with the survivors of childhood cancer, through the St. Jude LIFE study, helping them learn how to manage their health care risks as adults while also learning how to minimize the side effects of treatments from yesterday in our patients today.
This month, we can unite behind the St. Jude mission: Finding cures. Saving children.
Let’s do this. Let’s end childhood cancer. Together.
This blog post is part of an annual series produced by The Huffington Post and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in recognition of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September. To see all the other posts in the series, click here. For more information about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, click here.