Childhood cancer is a horrible thing to experience and it is an illness that many people do not pay attention to. Did you know September is childhood cancer awareness month? Every September a walk is held, sponsored by doctors and families of children who have fought or are fighting cancer. It is a huge fundraiser and a time to get together. It is also a time to remember those who have fought the good fight and lost.
We all have our heroes and mine are those who are fighting a battle much bigger than themselves. I was able to talk to six kids, and teens, that had cancer. I asked a basic series of questions and the answers all varied greatly but underneath each of these answers I saw a kid who has gone through so much more than I could have imagined.
The first person I interviewed was Jonah White who is 16 years old. He was diagnosed at age 5 with Osteosarcoma and, due to his cancer, he lost his lower leg after a lower knee amputation. When asked about his experience, he replied, “I think God gave me cancer to be an example to others.” Now, nearly 11 years later, he is still a shining example to others. Jonah also has a sister named Joy who is seven years old. Joy was diagnosed at age 3 with Leukemia. While she was too little to remember much one thing stands out, besides the fact that little Joy survived. She found a family who loves her. And as they say, “Through Jonah’s journey we found Joy.”
For those of you who went to Carver, you may remember Mr. Williams. Do you know about his eleven year old daughter Arleah Williams? She was diagnosed at age 7 with Leukemia and is still currently fighting. When I asked her what changed she replied: “My hair falling out [because of radiation treatment].” She also said that she does not think about why she has cancer over someone else.
Ruthie Cameron, age 10, is yet another survivor of cancer. At eight months old, she was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor and relapsed at age 3. She told me she’s grateful that she doesn’t have to go to hospitals as much and she is able to do more in her life. It was pretty spontaneous and she doesn’t remember much.
Fifteen year old Kaylie Reed was diagnosed at age 2 with leukemia and survived. A lot of things have changed for her since then, one being the fact that she does not have to visit the hospital as frequently anymore.
Last but not least, I would like to introduce Richard Lee Weber, age 11. He was diagnosed at age 3 with Wilms Tumor stage 4. He said that his whole life changed and that he only wonders why him from time to time. All of these kids have gone through so much. Childhood cancer does not just affect the child, but it also affects their families as well. These kids have been given so much love from their parents and siblings through all of their trials. I commend everyone who has endured this experience. Reagan Ballard, Amy White, Cory Williams, Catherine Isaac, Johanna White, Sarah Weber and so many more. They are all heroes in their own ways, as are the children that have gone through so much in such a short time. They are all heroes, every last one of them.