September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. And while it might be tempting to simply scroll past the gold ribbons and the sad stories of these kids you see on your Facebook page, I ask you not to give into that temptation. Childhood Cancer Awareness matters deeply to me, and it should matter to you too.
You see, before July 16, 2012 I wasn’t a cancer parent either. On that day my life, and the lives of everyone in our family, changed forever. That was the day our 4 month old daughter, Olivia, was diagnosed with cancer.
Olivia was originally diagnosed with a grade 2 astrocytoma, which was supposed to be very treatable. At first, it was. Olivia endured 7 months of high-intensity chemo and our family lived in hotels and condos in Denver during our stays for treatment. Olivia went through a surgical brain biopsy, MRI’s every 3 months, several hospitalizations, and numerous port operations. She took it all like a true champion. It was all worth it because in January 2013 we received the news that Olivia’s cancer was gone.We were truly overjoyed and we began a few months of normalcy.
That normalcy was unfortunately very short lived. Just a few months later in June 2013, we received the news that Olivia’s tumor was back and even bigger than before. We tried treatment once again, but on October 22, 2013 Olivia took her last breath on earth and left us for Heaven.
Olivia is our namesake. Our inspiration. This amazing little hazel-eyed girl has inspired countless people from all across the United States to donate money to childhood cancer, volunteer, and get involved. Because of her we have been able to give $115,000 to childhood cancer research in just 2 short years. And because of her we will give another large check in October.
Over this month I will be sharing lots of stories of brave children who have battled cancer. Some are still fighting their battle, but for many others, their battle ended and they are now dancing, cancer-free in Heaven. Please take the time to read these stories. Share them with your friends. Please get involved and don’t turn the other cheek! These are ordinary kids who were called to fight an extraordinary battle. They deserve our attention and our dedication to helping the many more who join them in their fight each day.
The Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric cancer research. You can learn more, volunteer and donate at www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.