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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Author Carla Mooney Talks About Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Most people know what this stands for:

But what about this one?

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Many people don’t even realize that childhood cancer has its own “month” and a gold ribbon symbol. Yet many of us have been impacted by childhood cancer, either in our own families or in people we know. Cancer is the #1 disease killer of children in the United States, and even through survival rates are improving, about ¼ of children diagnosed with cancer will die within five years.

My own experience with childhood cancer began when my son Daniel was diagnosed with leukemia at 19 months of age. We quickly learned that he was one of the “lucky” ones – he had a type of leukemia (acute lymphoblastic leukemia or ALL) which has a higher survival rate. Yet I will never forget a conversation with one of his doctors, where she told us that he had a 75 percent chance of surviving for 5 years. For me, that 25 percent loomed too big and menacing over our Daniel. With great understanding, the doctor acknowledged our fears and said quite simply, “But for each family, it’s either 100 percent or nothing.” How true. Statistics mean nothing when a child has cancer. Either that child beats it or they don’t. And that is why raising awareness and research for childhood cancer is so important. So that every family can have their 100 percent.

Our journey through cancer has been tough and heartbreaking at times. We have gotten to know many children and families who did not win their battle. Yet we’ve also gotten to see the strength, kindness, and generosity of family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers. And through this experience, I was able to write Samson’s Tale. I hope that this book can be one piece of my “paying it forward” and helping someone else who may be going through similar experiences.

If you didn’t know, 30 percent of the proceeds of sales of Samson’s Tale go to Flashes of Hope, a national nonprofit that changes the way children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses see themselves through the gift of photography and raises money for pediatric cancer research. Consider buying a copy for your home school library. If you want, you might even ask your school or community librarians to contact Follett Library Resources to purchase Samson's Tale for their shelves.

Did You Know?

• Each school day, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer, and 1 in 330 children will develop cancer by age 20.

• On the average 12,500 children and teens will be diagnosed with some form of cancer each year in this country.

• Currently there are between 30-40,000 children undergoing cancer treatment in the U.S.

• Research funds are scarce, because most money goes to adult forms of cancer, such as breast and prostate.

• Over the past two decades, only ONE new cancer drug has been approved for pediatric use.

~Carla Mooney

(Visit Carla on the web at

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