Pediatric cancer is not contagious.
I know it’s difficult to see children suffering and think about the parents who have lost a child. I know you want to look away because the thought of losing your own child is unbearable.
Well, I’m here to tell you that pediatric cancer is not contagious. You can be part of the movement that brings research dollars to the cause without subjecting yourself to the disease. In fact, familiarizing yourself with the problem might alleviate some of your fears.
What does support look like?
Advocates for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and other pediatric cancers are coming together with the goal of finding a cure. There will be many stops along the spectrum to getting there that will hopefully prolong life in these children who are diagnosed, but there will be no movement along the spectrum without support.
Your support could take a number of different forms:
- Sharing an article about pediatric cancer to help generate awareness
- Donating to a foundation dedicated to funding pediatric cancer research
- Asking the parent of a child who has pediatric cancer (or who has passed away because of pediatric cancer) how they are doing instead of shying away
- Appreciating your children a little bit more because you see how precious life is
- Holding a fundraiser to benefit a foundation dedicated to funding pediatric cancer research
- Talking to your friends and family about the cause to spread awareness
Why does your support matter?
Awareness might seem silly in the grand scheme of things — I used to think it was silly.
“What does it matter if I’m aware of something? What does that really change? All they want is my money!”
Well, I’ve been educated. Awareness doesn’t just mean something, it means everything. It’s like the philosophical question, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
If stories and fundraisers and petitions are generated but no one is around to support them, do they really make an impact?
Your support and knowledge of a problem goes a long way. Don’t allow your conscience to guilt you into thinking that if you don’t donate — if you don’t do something huge in the name of a cause — that you can’t make a difference.
There are different roles for each of us. Your role when it comes to DIPG and pediatric cancer awareness may be sharing information via social media, because sharing something may light a fire under someone who is meant to do more. You can play a part without making a huge change in your life.
The key is not shutting out the possibility.
How do I get past the sadness?
Watching children lose their lives is sad. Reading about the pain and agony parents are facing is sad. It’s horrible. Who wants to experience that kind of pain when you don’t have to?
I’m here to ask you to think of things a little differently. Instead of seeing all of these stories as subjecting you to sadness, think of supporting these families as taking away a piece of their stress.
You won’t be able to take away their pain (and you shouldn’t try), but when they see people coming together in support, they know that their child’s life mattered. They know that their child’s life can make a difference, and that is the most precious gift you could give them.
So instead of ignoring the post in your newsfeed trying to bring awareness to DIPG or pediatric cancer research through the telling of a sad story, at the very least help spread the word. You don’t know what kind of impact sharing that story could have. You may inspire someone to donate, to attend an event, or to dedicate his or her life to finding a cure as a researcher.
You never know.