You know when you get your favorite flavor of ice cream, on the perfectly crunchy cone, maybe even sprinkles to make it better? There is nothing as lovely and delightful as that first bite, lick or mouthful, is there? Yet, as the licks go on, one gets distracted. While still eating the same delicious, ice cream cone, the mind wanders from that initial space of sweet escape. Before you know it, you only have a few bites left. When you realize the short time you have left with your delicious cone, you go back to savoring, appreciating and tasting every last bite, until it is gone.
So it is with life, love and anything of real value. So it is with cancer. You pull together these ingredients and create a delicious life – a partner, a career, maybe have a family, a home, a pet. It is bliss. You can get distracted until a moment of loss pops up and you look at your delicious cone/life and find your cone-your bliss – is almost gone. This is when you start to appreciate and savor every moment.
I love ice cream and I love my life. I have gotten a pretty sweet cone – 48 years so far. I used to complain about getting older – about my 2nd scoop of life, and the pain and wrinkles it was piling on. Until I was diagnosed with a pediatric bone cancer (osteosarcoma) at age 43.
During my time as a 43 year old pediatric cancer center patient, I was very aware that I was surrounded by kids whose greatest wish was to get to their next birthday. Their cone was a kiddie one and it was almost gone. They hardly got to get to the savoring part.
I know two things for sure; to savor the good things in life, you must be present – not get distracted by nonsense. The other thing I know is that kids should not be dying of cancer, particularly because of lack of funding for research.
We need to do better. All pediatric cancers are considered rare, and receive less than 4% of the NIH budget for cancer research. With seven children dying every day of cancer, it’s not rare enough. The ones who survive the treatment face amputation, infertility and serious health problems due to harsh, grown up chemotherapies. Cancer families and friends are holding bake sales and shaving their heads to fund research for new treatments. We do it because we know kids deserve better treatments – ones that are less harsh and that work. Kids with cancer deserve a second scoop.
In two weeks, I and other pediatric cancer activists will be in Washington DC talking with our state representatives about Making It Better for all pediatric cancers through funding research. Over the last few years, I have asked for your support in signing petitions and appealing to your senators for this cause. Thank you for doing it :).
May I ask that you continue to show your support and appreciation for organizations that step up and provide platforms, events, partnerships and funding for pediatric cancer? This is a way we can expand awareness, influence lawmakers, increase funding, and God willing get to better treatments and a cure. National LightNet is one such company – they have jumped into the ring with MIB Agents and are all-in for fixing this disparity. Click HERE to see other companies that have offered meaningful support of our missions at our Seattle MIB Event. We are grateful for these companies and individuals for seeing the problem and offering to be a part of the solution. If you know of other organizations that support pediatric cancer causes, tell us so we can share and give them meaningful support back.
In the meantime, I hope you savor every bite of your life. May you have three scoops and live a long, delicious life. Oh, and May the 4th be with you.