September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

It is hard and scary to face the reality of kids dying of cancer. Most of us, including me, would rather look away. We would rather not explore the idea that our child might be ONE of the forty kids diagnosed with cancer every day in U.S.

I was not aware that childhood cancer was the leading cause of death from disease in children in the U.S. until my own child was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2013. Shortly thereafter, I found out that children with cancer in this country are an underserved population. Only 4% of federal funding for cancer research is designated for pediatric cancers. Pharmaceutical companies, a driving force in clinical trials for adult cancers, do not invest in childhood cancer research because it is not a profitable endeavor. And only 4 new treatments have been FDA approved to specifically treat childhood cancers in the last 30 years.

September is childhood cancer awareness month. For that reason, this month I implore you to not look away. I ask that you take a moment to consider the reality that, for most kids diagnosed with cancer, our treatments are outdated and often result in life-long medical and social problems. I want you to know that if we dedicate real time, energy and resources to this problem, real change is possible. And I urge you to consider being a part of the solution.

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Erin Benson