In 2003, when my brother-in-law was diagnosed with lymphoma, I had no idea how many children get cancer. When he set up a website through caringbridge.org and people signed his guestbook and left their sites I would visit them. I was amazed at how many children out there have cancer.
Most people think that cancer is an adult disease. I was that way even though I had a classmate in high school who was diagnosed with leukemia. At the time, I just thought it was one of those rare things that happened and figured he would be ok. Boy was I naive. In fact, donating blood at a blood drive for him was the first time I ever gave blood. He did ok for a while, but the leukemia came back during his freshman year in college and he had to have a bone marrow transplant. Even today, those are very hard on the body and very risky, but 18 years ago, they were much more so. He never made it home. And I didn't give another thought to kids getting cancer until 4 years ago.
Since my high school classmate battled cancer, things have improved, but they are still not where they should be. Every year, over 12,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer. 20% of those will not survive. Cancer is the #1 disease killer of children. It shouldn't be this way.
Over the past four years, I have met many kids on-line and in person who have cancer. And let me tell you, those kids are my heroes. So to all of you kids with cancer, all of the moms, dads, brothers, sisters and the rest of the family - you are my hero. This month you will be on my mind every time I take a step during a run, every time I pedal on the bike, and every time I take a stroke during a swim.