Before I had kids it had always been a deep, lingering fear of mine that I would have a child with cancer. The thought terrified me but I never actually thought it would happen to me. I knew a little bit about Leukemia but I had no clue that a baby could get brain cancer.
When Olivia was diagnosed with brain cancer at 4 months old in July 2012, my world was shattered. I racked my brain trying to think of what I did wrong that this happened to my little girl. I avoided everything the doctors told me to when I was pregnant. I gave breast milk to both of my babies. I followed all the safe sleep practices. I always made sure our hands were clean and toys were sanitized. How could this possibly happen to my kid?
That’s the scary thing about childhood cancer…there is no cause. Researchers don’t know what causes some children’s cancer cells to grow so quickly while the rest of us can live perfectly healthy lives with the few cancer cells we are all born with. There is no logic to why.
My sweet Olivia is cancer free in Heaven now. Her cancer battle is over but my fight here on earth is just beginning. I will continue to fight for a cure in her honor for as long as I live. I never want Olivia’s name to be forgotten and I most certainly don’t want her fight to have been in vain.
We chose to start the Olivia Caldwell Foundation and fund one research lab for many reasons. First, we completely believe in the work being done by Dr. Nick Foreman and the rest of the neuro-oncologists at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Although he wasn’t able to save Olivia’s life, it wasn’t due to lack of trying. It was due to lack of research.
The National Cancer Institute only allocates a measly 3.8% of their total funding to childhood cancer research. This means that researchers who want to work on research projects related to pediatric cancer have to spend all of their time fighting for grant money just to get started, instead of actually being able devote their time to research. By funding one research team we hope to change that. We will give our research team one large donation each October and they will be able to use that money to do research projects throughout the year. Our goal is to be able to fund them so fully that eventually writing grants is a thing of the past and they can spend their time finding cures!
Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a pending 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric brain cancer research. You can learn more and donate by visiting our website at www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.