Cancer and Kids just shouldn’t be in the same sentence – or even in the same life. Kids are energetic, happy, forms of life and Cancer is just the opposite! Kids are affected by cancer through many ways including being a cancer patient, survivor or even lost the battle; they may have a relative or teacher or friend who they have had to endure watching their pain, suffering and possible loss; or they may have participated in events to raise funds and awareness through Relay for Life. No matter how they have been affected, almost every kid has been touched by this horrible disease. They may have lost a grandparent and never even had the chance to meet them, or possibly they lost a teacher during the school year…no matter…it still is something that they should not have to deal with. So how can anyone change this?
Learning you or a loved one has cancer can be hard for anyone, but a diagnosis of cancer in a family with kids presents some unique challenges. First, it is a devastating blow to a child to find out they have cancer. It is almost too much for an adult to handle but a kid has so much more to live and to give in their young life! It is so hard for a parent to be strong and to stay focused on all of the things that will change in their life. They will miss a lot of work, they may have other kids to take care of, they have to show the child that has cancer that they are supportive and strong and everything will be ok. For siblings, it is a struggle too! They want to be supportive and they want to understand how hard it is but sometimes they are not getting much attention or may have had to cut back on their activities because their parents are so busy taking care of their sibling. They are mad at themselves because they are a little resentful but they also are hurting. They want to know how to help.
A typical teenager, MaKenzey Cain, is the daughter of Olando and Kelly Cain and has a twin sister, MaKayley and a younger sister, Lillian. She is a freshman at a local school and was a cheerleader for school and competively. She was diagnosed with Acute T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma with a large mass in her chest on June 29, 2012. It started out as a cough and her ribs was hurting while she was at cheer camp. The mass in her chest was compressing her airway and the main arteries in her heart; she was medflighted to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, where she was officially diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. She is currently receiving her treatments at St. Jude’s. She has had many treatments, surgeries, chemo and through it all she remains positive and strong. She almost always has a smile on her face. She knows she is loved by her family, friends, her cheerleading team and gym and so many others. You see we are all Cheering for MaKenzey. For more details on her story, visit her facebook page http://www.facebook.com/groups/392255150833606/
So how can we help? There is one HUGE way to help and that is through the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Each year, more than 4 million people in over 20 countries take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer.
There are three main parts of Relay for Life: Celebrate, Remember & Fight Back!
Celebrate – During a Relay event, participants and survivors celebrate what they’ve overcome during the Survivors Lap. This is where we are pumped up and ready to cheer on those that have fought this hard battle and won! We cheer for the caregivers that have done so much to help them through this battle and we cheer on the family, friends and all of the supporters. Katy Gonterman was in second grade when she found out her dad had cancer. She really didn’t know what to do and really didn’t understand – she just wanted to help. She got involved along with her mom and they started a team at Relay and her Mom also got involved on the Relay Committee. The night of their first relay, Katy had invited other friends to come. It turned out to be one of the most special bonding times for all of these friends. They were helping a friend, they were learning more about cancer, they were remembering a teacher they had lost, and they were bonding and making memories to last a lifetime. Since then, Katy and even more friends continue to be involved in relay. Each year, Katy and her dad light a torch that she bought for him in is honor during the luminary ceremony and they also walk hand in hand during the survivor lap. She is making a difference and helping her dad and it has meant so much to him.
Remember – During the Luminaria Ceremony, we remember people lost to cancer, and honor people who have fought or are fighting cancer. This is a solemn time at relay that we try to heal. A group of cheerleaders in the Madison community had a legendary cheerleading coach – Madonna Holladay that they wanted to honor. They formed a team – Cheering for Madonna and rival teams, schools, and most cheerleaders in the area came together to remember this amazing coach. During luminary ceremony they turned on their lighted pom poms and held them up to heaven in honor of their coach. This was a time of heartbreak and healing for family, friends and all these kids. They raised nearly $10,000 in honor of this coach. The Cancer Kickers is also a team of Liberty Middle School Soccer kids that has raised around $20,000 in the past two years in honor of several of the team member’s parents.
Fight Back –The Fight Back Ceremony inspires Relay participants to take tangible action again. This is where we learn about cancer, the causes, and the research and how we can make a difference. We inform and encourage these kids to take care of themselves and to continue making a difference.
The Madison Relay for Life will be held on May 10, 2013 at Madison Schools Stadium in Madison AL beginning at 6:00 pm through 6:00 am. Join our community kids and fight cancer together now!
Prayer for those who have cancer and their loved ones
(the Franciscian’s St. Anthony’s Guild)
Dear Jesus, Divine Physician, Healer of the Sick.
We call upon you and ask your help for our loved ones
who are suffering from cancer.
We entrust them to your loving care.
They are your children and they are in pain.
Give them the ability to know in their hearts
that you are with them in this difficult time.
Give them strength and healing.
Comfort them in their fears,
soothe their anxiety,
and let them rest securely in your arms.
Help those who care for them.
Give insight to researchers that they may discover cures.
Give patience and energy to doctors and nurses so that
they will care for them with grace and love.
For us, their families, their friends and their community,
we need your courage and strength,
to be with them and help them bear their burdens.
Give us joy, peace and confidence in you
so that like Mary, your mother,
we may stand with them in faith and trust,
witnessing to your healing love.
For you are blessed, for ever and ever. Amen.
Hope to see you at Relay! Make your donation and let’s fight cancer together!