Friday, October 9, 2015

Not Loud Enough

Childhood cancer. 
Two hundred plus children die daily from cancer in this world. 
No one wants to think about it. 
You don't want to talk about it unless you've been in it. 
Deep in the trenches of a possible death sentence for your child. 
I've been in it and it's damn hard to talk about it. 
Children are dying and parents are holding candlelight vigils. 
They sit at home and write letters. 
Letters to the president. 
Letters to lawmakers. 
They put gold light bulbs in their front porch fixtures. 
Make Facebook pages. 
Create t-shirts, shave their heads, sell lemonade and cookies. 
They are afraid to make too much noise. 
Is it out of respect for the young and innocent?
I think it's because deep down we are all mourning. 

When gay men were dying from AIDS no one listened. 
No one wanted to talk about sex and death. 
It was kept in the closet. 
There was shame. 
But seeing everyone around you die a slow and excruciating death, something had to be done. 
So letters were written. 
Phone calls were placed. 
No one listened. 
So they yelled. 
And marched. 
And made a lot of noise. 
They threw their dead friends' ashes on to the White House lawn. 
They made a point to be heard loudly. 
And it happened. 
They were heard. 
And they got funding. 
And the disease (in the U.S.) has decreased and treatments have become revolutionary. 
And people are surviving. 
Because of noise. 

I'm an advocate for kids with cancer. 
I have tried to make some noise.  
I'm not loud enough, though. 
People are very eager to tell me what I'm doing wrong. 
From behind a computer screen. 
Never to my face. 
It's easier to sit at your laptop and nay-say the efforts of someone else.  
But I hope they are simultaneously asking themselves "what am I doing for the cause?"
It's hard to be dedicated to one singular cause in the 21st century. 
The causes are too many to count. 
Diseases of the brain. 
Animal abuse. 
Gun violence. 
Orphans in Europe. 
Heart disease. 
There are so many ways to advocate for something. 
And our brains, news feeds, television screens are inundated. 
And when there's that much information thrown at us. 
No one listens. 
Why should people care about kids who get sick?
Your kid is healthy. 
It's easier to look away. 
Scrool past on your newsfeed. 
Change the tv channel. 
One day my child didn't have cancer. 
And the next day she did. 

I'm getting tired. 
Tired of trying to do good and getting nowhere. 
Tired of asking for help and getting no response. 
Tired of reading stories about children dying. 
I can't begin to fathom what a parent must feel like in a country where there isn't available treatment for their sick child. 
In war ravaged countries. 
People fleeing for their lives. 
There are children in these situations with cancer. 

Childhood cancer has yet to yell loud enough. 
Someone needs to go to the top of the mountain and scream. 
But they can't do it alone. 


  1. Sending all the strength I can muster. Powerful piece. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to go through this.

    1. Thanks for those kind words. We are a lucky family, as our daughter is alive and doing quite well after treatment. And we are lucky she doesn't remember much.