It seems very fitting to us that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. On Thursday, Sept. 24, our family will mark the fifth anniversary of my son Patrick's diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 15. Although that diagnosis came as a life-altering blow that took a huge physical and emotional toll on Patrick, we still celebrate. We celebrate life with a newfound perspective and understanding of what really matters.
The fear that a parent feels as they watch their child face his own mortality is difficult to express, but it is unlike any emotion I have ever felt. There is a helpless feeling as you find yourself placing the well-being of your child in the hands of the medical professionals who quickly become your lifeline. You say many prayers, ask many questions and spend many sleepless nights wondering what the future will bring, all while your child rises to the occasion and shows you how to proceed. Parents of pediatric cancer patients are nodding their heads right now — we all share this bond. For those who have not faced this challenge, we thank you for your support and ask that you will help us spread the word. The hope for a complete cure relies on research, and research requires funding.