Every September, America pauses to remember Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. For many people, however, this month goes by with little notice. Let’s face it: until you have been personally affected by childhood cancer, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is just another campaign. But for the families living with childhood cancer, September is of huge importance, bringing awareness to a life-changing event for their precious children.
There are fundraisers hosted, petitions signed; even the White House has been adorned in golden lights to bring awareness to the issue of limited research funding for children battling this disease. Amazon prints special boxes with gold ribbons to bring more awareness. You might see parents make social media posts wearing clothes that say, “In September, We Wear Gold”. These are all necessary and appreciated actions, but the work done in local organizations cannot be overlooked!
Who serves the children battling cancer right here in Oklahoma City?
As a mama who knows the devastation of childhood cancer firsthand, these are three of my favorite metro-area organizations serving cancer families!
- F.A.I.T.H. Kids (Fighting Against Illnesses To Heal Kids) was started by a local father who had 2 daughters fight two different, unrelated cancers. His family’s firsthand experience and knowledge as Childhood Cancer Survivors make them the perfect people to run this 501(c)3 non-profit. F.A.I.T.H. Kids is committed to standing beside these families with the emotional, educational, and financial support necessary to get them through their illness. They provide fun experiences for children in the middle of their treatments. For families whose children pass away, F.A.I.T.H. Kids offers help with bereavement expenses. F.A.I.T.H. Kids has no overhead expenses, so every penny they raise goes directly back into our local community. For additional information and an opportunity to help other children with cancer, visit their website!
- K Club (Keaton’s Kindness Foundation) is a 501(c)3 with a goal of continuing Keaton’s mission of kindness, courage, compassion, and caring while fighting for a cure for pediatric cancer. In practice, that means the K Club spends time setting up fun Lego parties for the kids that are inpatient at Children’s Hospital, delivering K Boosts of gifts on special days where joy is needed, and doing other community service projects that focus on kind acts towards others. K Club also offers bereavement support to families who are burying a child due to cancer. For additional information and an opportunity to help other children with cancer, you can get more from their website!
- The Mack Impact is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing local children with cancer “bucket list” experiences during their short times away from the hospital. These experiences range from shopping trips to swing sets, from cooking with the Pioneer Woman to visiting an Elephant Sanctuary. The Mack Impact gifted my young daughter her dream of a fishing trip, where she hoped to catch “Three Fish”. For additional information and an opportunity to help out other children with cancer, visit their website!
As I share the organizations above, I want to specifically mention the children whose lives they honor.
• F.A.I.T.H. Kids was founded in honor of Riley and Abby Tran, who are both survivors of childhood cancer. Both sisters are thriving!
• K Club was founded by Keaton Barron in January 2018. Tragically, Keaton’s treatment was unsuccessful, and he passed away on May 11, 2018, at the age of eight.
• The Mack Impact was named after Mackenzie Asher, an amazing 11-year-old who lost her battle with Leukemia in December of 2017.
Each of these organizations personally touched my family during my daughter’s cancer treatments, supporting us both during our cancer battle, and in the past two years since cancer took our baby. We are so grateful for their generosity to our local cancer fighters!
Childhood cancer is not rare.
Children need us to stand up and raise funds both for research, and also for improving quality of life as they battle for their lives against this wretched disease.
Did you know that childhood cancer only receives 4 percent of funding for cancer research? Our children are the future of our country. They deserve more than FOUR!