As any parent, I wished upon stars and crossed fingers that my own child would grow up healthy and happy and not ever, ever, EVER get sick.
But that was as far as my concern went.
Until my child looked ill.
And my mom gut spoke very loudly to me one weekend and said "something is very wrong with my daughter."
Then, wham-bam...our lives forever changed.
And I became aware.
Aware that childhood cancers are horribly underfunded.
That the American Cancer Society donates less than 1 penny for every dollar that's donated to childhood cancers.
That childhood cancers are the leading cause of death by disease in children.
And there are many childhood cancers.
I could go on and on with this list.
We fought the fight with our daughter.
Watched her change and then return to us.
And we are considered lucky.
Because she's still alive.
She looks normal now.
She didn't lose a limb.
She can walk.
She didn't lose her sight.
She doesn't "look" like someone who has had cancer.
And in our glory of having a child who has survived a disease that we never envisioned her having, we thought we would give back.
So we have tried to get a license plate to support childhood cancer research in our state.
The state of Illinois.
The Land of Lincoln.
The state where Abe Lincoln, one of our country's most beloved presidents resided.
The man who changed the pages of history by signing the Emancipation Proclamation.
And a man who lost three children to disease.
A man who may have cared about our cause.
Because when you lose a child or have a sick child, your perceptions change.
To lose hope for a young person's future, in my opinion, is a great human travesty.
I think most people forget that they themselves were once children.
That they once represented someone else's hopes and dreams.
And if an adult doesn't have children of their own, the idea of a child getting cancer seems too foreign to imagine.
We have tried and tried to spread the word about our license plate campaign.
To raise awareness and funds.
And it's not going anywhere.
And I'm shocked.
I'm shocked that people don't care.
I'm shocked that when we are at an event (with our flyers and huge cardboard license plate) that's full of kids with cancer and their parents, we are ignored.
Ignored by the very people who should understand our cause.
I have heard people say they are just too busy to send in their form for a license plate.
Writing a check and addressing an envelope will take all of 7 minutes, tops, out of your day.
I'm so happy to see this ice bucket challenge that's raising millions of dollars for ALS.
A horrible disease without a cure that robs people of their happiness and their futures.
Just like childhood cancers.
The diseases that kill kids before they have begun to live.
At age 2.
At age 7.
At age 12.
At age 17.
I have had to watch my daughter fight and fight.
And I want to give back.
But others don't care I guess.
And it's bewildering to me.
Especially when we are surrounded by other parents whose own family have fought childhood cancer.
When they avoid us and our license plate paper.
As if we are giving out cancer.
Instead of hope.
If we can't get these people on board, I fear we will fail.
And it breaks my heart.
And my daughter, Zoe, has cried because no one is getting their form into the state.
I don't say these things to make people feel bad.
I just speak the truth.
What's in my heart.
And while my heart is heavy by the lack of response from people in the state of Illinois, I know one thing.
I know we have tried.
And I will focus on what my friend Sue told me recently.
My friend, who last her nephew at the age of 7 to cancer.
Sue told me that she thinks Zoe is destined for greatness.
Now that's something to give me hope.
That's something I can count on.