Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
- Robert Frost
I don't think there could be a better color to represent childhood cancer. Children, in all of their beauty, purity and innocence, are truly golden. When a poor child is diagnosed with cancer, he or she is immediately robbed of this, while forced to face pain, fear and realities that grown men and women can barely even cope with.
When Gavin bumps his head badly, or skins his knee, or gets a shot at the doctor's office - I coddle him and I try to comfort him with every remedy possible. Yet, in my mind I know what real pain looks like to a five year old. I think to myself "sweet little man, you have no idea, thank God" And for that, I am grateful. He is still gold and I want him to hold onto that for as long as he possibly can. I want him to be a carefree kid and have incredible memories from his childhood. I hope Lou and I find ways to create those for him. Muddy Puddles!!
When I review the stats, I am in as much shock today as I was the moment I first became aware myself. Ty was diagnosed in August 2010, and it wasn't until we checked into the clinic at Sloan Kettering that September that I saw my first gold ribbon. It wasn't until then, that I was prompted to investigate more about childhood cancer in general because I had otherwise been focused solely on Ty's diagnosis. It didn't occur to me that childhood cancer might be as common as it is; yet brushed under the rug time and time again when it comes to funding the research needed to advance toward a cure.
- Cancer is the #1 disease killer among children in the US
- Every three minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer
- One out of five children diagnosed with cancer in the US will die
- Less than 4% of the government funds allocated to cancer research are put toward researching childhood cancers
- Childhood cancer is under prioritized and grossly underfunded (which is why private, community non-profits like the TLC Foundation are so important to supplement that funding)
- 9 out of 10 researchers agree that the lack of funding is the top barrier preventing them from finding treatments and cures for childhood cancer
- The majority of childhood cancer survivors live with long-term effects post-treatment, many of which are life-threatening
And the list goes on and on. This is why awareness is so important. Awareness drives people to take action, and results in better funding for research.
This year, I am so happy to say that I have seen a huge positive shift. I have seen various go gold initiatives making headway across uncharted territory. I see more and more people sharing the facts and supporting the cause. Even those are not forced into the world of childhood cancer due to a diagnosis, but who want to make a difference on behalf of all these kids even when the easier option is to look away. It's beautiful. The ripple effect makes me feel light and giddy and full of hope - as if I'm being doused with gold glitter, showering in the sparkle of it all. Thank you so much for your beautiful support.
Over the weekend we hosted a beautiful beachfront fundraising event. The Long Beach Luau was nothing short of perfect. Before the start of the day, some incredible friends stopped by to put blue leis on Ty's statue - and when I returned there after the event he also had beautiful seashells and lollipops at his feet. It was a celebration filled with nothing but fun, yet friends went out of their way to show us that they will always remember the real reason behind the day. The little boy who inspired it all. Look at those blue skies behind him. It was the most breathtakingly beautiful day.
Ty worked a lot of magic that day, not the least of which was the weather. We could not have wished for a more perfect day. I believe some of the raffle winners were hand-picked by my angel, like the little girl who was in remission for Leukemia and dreaming of winning the American Girl doll raffle - you had to see her face when she won. Or our friend who lost her bike to Hurricane Sandy and was saving up for a new one - she won the beach cruisers. At the close of the event the DJ played the same Hawaiian song that I made Ty's video to, and it almost brought me to my knees. Thankfully, I held myself together and remembered that this was not going to end sad. It was an amazing day.
We raised more than $10,000 for childhood cancer research in five hours. It will never get old. I will always find peace doing this for the next Ty Louis Campbell and keeping Ty's memory alive while doing so. I am filled with such resolve, and such tremendous gratitude for another amazing day surrounded by incredible people. Thank you.
I will follow up with loads of Luau photos over the next few days, and updates on Gavin. Kindergarten life! In the meantime, I want to leave you with this photo of Amelia. She is pretty incredible. Gold is beautiful. Go Gold for Amelia, and always #SuperTy.