SEPTEMBER IS GO GOLD FOR CHILDHOOD CANCER
by Ashley Wright
used to just mark the beginning of football season, pumpkin
flavored everything, my dad's birthday, and hopefully cooler
weather. I didn't know it was CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
until CHILDHOOD CANCER hit my family in 2014. Once it does hit
your family and someone you love, every day is a reminder of
the big, nasty C-word that seems to effect more and more people
as each day passes. But I'm 35 and I've lived a great life,
done everything I've had a chance to do so far, and had a million
amazing memories. Cancer shouldn't be allowed to rob a precious,
innocent child of their childhood, the day-to-day things you
and I take for granted, or the potential for problems that could
arise later in their lives, known as "late effects"
from the treatments they receive to stop the cancer.
If you don't know my story, let me tell you. I'm lucky enough
to be an Aunt to an amazing, vibrant, smart, loving, funny,
sweet, precious little girl named Calleigh. She entered this
world on February 27th, 2010 and from the moment I heard her
first cry, I was in love. Over the years, she continued to amaze
me time and time again with how smart she was, articulate, and
fun! I was so excited when she was old enough to go places with
me and spend the night.......she was just fun to be with and
spoil. And boy is she easy to spoil! She and I are known for
our Target runs where whatever she puts in the buggy, she gets.
I can't tell her no!! :)
Tuesday June 24, 2014 she was diagnosed with a brain mass that
was blocking the ventricles in her brain from draining properly.
Thursday June 26, 2014, she underwent her first surgery where
an egg sized tumor was removed from the cerebellum of her brain
and was later confirmed to be a medulloblastoma. Medulloblastomas
are the most common malignant brain tumors in children, making
up about 20%. What was so alarming to me was that she was perfectly
normal until about 2 days before her tumor was found. And even
then, her symptoms didn't scream "she has a brain tumor".
It wasn't anything that crossed our minds.
Since her diagnosis, she has undergone the following:
31 radiation treatments to her brain and spine (the maximum
amount a child her age could receive)
8 rounds of chemotherapy, with each round lasting up to 6 weeks
2 more brain surgeries
Countless doctor appointments
Countless appointments for therapies she receives: occupational,
physical, and speech
Numerous transfusions of red blood cells and platelets
Amazingly through all of this, CALLEIGH has been more of a
fighter than I could ever hope to be. Sure, she has struggles,
but she looks each day in the face and kicks it's butt. She
graciously puts on her jewelry that coordinates with her outfits
each day, a matching headband, grabs her bookbag and lunch.....to
head off to kindergarten like every other five year old. But
sadly, she's not like every other five year old.
On the day of her diagnosis, she was ONE OF THIRTEEN CHILDREN
TO BE DIAGNOSED WITH A CANCEROUS BRAIN TUMOR THE SAME DAY. Each
day that she receives treatment, she is ONE OF FORTY OTHER CHILDREN
FIGHTING CANCER THAT SAME DAY. And every time federal money
is handed out for cancer research, only 4% goes to Children's
cancer research initiatives.
Calleigh loves everything Princess related, including the many
crowns she has. In honor of her strength, determination, poise,
grace, and the love that I have for her and hopes for her future,
I'm raising money for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation by
calling my campaign, Crowns for Calleigh in conjunction with
September's Go Gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
hope you will join me in the fight against one of the deadliest
forms of childhood cancer. Your donation is fast, secure and
easy to make an online gift by clicking the donate button on
my page. Every little bit helps. Whatever you can give will
put me closer to reaching my goal and will make a difference
to a child facing the challenges of a brain tumor.
Your support gives children with brain tumors, our Shining
Stars, hope for a brighter future. The kids couldn’t do
it without you!
Other Organizations for Donations: ALL DONATIONS ARE
* CURE is an Atlanta, GA based non-profit
that focuses solely on cancers that effect children. 87% of
all money they raise goes to one of the following: research
for targeted therapies (to only attack cancer cells, leaving
the health cells in tact); clinical research; training of future
pediatric oncologists and researchers through the fellowship
program at Emory University School of Medicine (young scientists
often leave the field of childhood cancer research because of
the lack of support from federal funding opportunities); and
programs to assist patients and their families including outreach,
financial assistance, transportation, and counseling.
Organization's Webpage: www.curechildhoodcancer.org
Donation page: curechildhoodcancer.thankyou4caring.org/donate-now
* GREENVILLE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL is another
close to home organization for BWRC is this amazing Children's
hospital. This is where Calleigh Wright has received all of
her treatments, surgeries, etc since her diagnosis in June 2014.
Please read about the services they provide to South Carolina,
Western North Carolina, and Eastern Georgia's children and their
families. There are several options for you to donate, depending
on what interests you the most.
Read about the hospital: www.ghschildrens.org
Donate: If you click on the "Donate Now" box, you
can donate to any area in the hospital. The "Children's
Service" drop down applies to Children's Hospital areas.
You can then specifically designate your money to go to: Bi-Lo
Charities Children's Cancer Center. This Center and the nurses
and doctors that work here are phenomenal. There is nothing
like visiting an area of the hospital designated to children
who are all hooked up to IV's, trying to be as normal as possible,
and bald from the horrific drugs coursing through their veins.
Sometimes the same kids are there when Calleigh goes back in
for treatments and other times, a newly diagnosed kid shows
up with their family and the look of sheer fear is evident on
their faces. The entire team from social workers, nurses, doctors,
therapy dogs and their owners...everyone has been amazing. You
can give to make sure that kids continue to get whatever it
is they need.
Other ways to donate: Virtual Toy Drive, Bricks in Honor of
someone, etc. There are countless ways.
* SMILE.AMAZON.COM SHOPPING on Amazon is simple.
They have everything you could ever need and more. Now, it's
ever easier to give back to a charity you believe in. Click
on the link to go to the smile.amazon.com
webpage and pick a charity for a percentage of your purchase
to be donated to. A list of charities that BWRC supports and
has a special place for are the following:
Center for Developmental Services (Make sure it says
Greenville, SC and 1999 as Incorporation Year): this facility
is a partnership between several organizations to offer a variety
of developmental and rehabilitative services to children throughout
the Upstate of SC. Calleigh Wright receives physical, occupational,
and speech therapy from service providers located here. Not
only were these providers caring, loving, and instrumental in
bringing the Princess back from multiple brain surgeries, but
the countless other children that are served here each day also
need to ensure their services continue. From seeing children
with Down's Syndrome, burn victims, or birth defects receiving
treatment at this facility, it is a fantastic organization to
give back to.
Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF) Located in
Asheville, NC, the PBTF is the world's largest nonprofit funder
of childhood brain tumor research.