“Lou and I keep having these conversations about our plans for Ty after he dies. So many details that no one in our shoes should ever have to think about because no kid should die from cancer. These conversations are necessary and horrific and very, very surreal. From the beginning we decided we would cremate his beautiful body instead of embalming, but good God, either option is utterly unthinkable – isn’t it? I created that body. All of him is part of me. We know that we need to have Ty with us, always. We will keep him in our bedroom because we’ve never slept apart from him since the day he was born. The thought of his body going through more torment absolutely haunts me… it suffocates me… I sometimes wake up in the night imagining I am burning alive. Planning for the loss of your child is nothing short of pure hell. I still don’t believe this is happening.” –Written yesterday by the mother of Ty Louis Campbell on http://www.superty.org.
As I walk around Miami and see all the pink, I get so angry. Not because people are paying attention to breast cancer. Breast cancer, like all cancer, is a beast that must be destroyed.
I’m mad because where was all the gold last month, for childhood cancer awareness? Why the hell doesn’t childhood cancer get at least the SAME level of attention as breast cancer? Are the children who are suffering and dying not worth the same level of attention? I just can’t fathom why people wear pink to support breast cancer, but don’t push for the same level of awareness for childhood cancer. These are KIDS, for crying out loud! And they’re not just DYING. they’re SUFFERING and going through hell before they die. How is this acceptable?
The words Ty’s mom writes above are now way too familiar to me. I’ve seen them before. From Erin Santos. From Maya Thompson. And from so many other parents who have watched their kids die and who bravely put their stories out there on the web so people could SEE what the REALITY of childhood cancer really is.
Are you a parent? If so, please scroll back up and read the sheer agony dripping from the words of Ty’s mom. Can you feel it? Because it’s pretty damned palpable. OK, now imagine that that was your child. It pains me beyond measure to do this with my own girls, but I’ve done it. And because I’ve done it, I cannot keep quiet.
PLEASE, if you’re reading this, do not stand idly by and do nothing. Please don’t let childhood cancer awareness fall to the wayside because September is over. There is absolutely nothing wrong with everything from toothpaste to the White House being pink in honor of breast cancer awareness. What IS wrong is that last month, I didn’t see gold anywhere. Where was the gold? As Maya Thompson said in her blog (www.rockstarronan.com), why the heck wasn’t the White House gold last month in honor of childhood cancer? How the heck can childhood cancer be so easily ignored??
The only answer I can come up with is that too many people simply do not understand how prevalent childhood cancer is, how much torture these kids and their parents go through, and how many of these kids are eaten alive until they die. They don’t know. Because if they did know, they would not be able to ignore it.
So to keep doing my part to raise awareness, I’ll leave you with another thought from Ty’s mom (as written to Maya Thompson, who posted it on her blog), which should help you understand why I can’t just forget about this cause and let it go:
“Awareness should focus on how many children are diagnosed, how many die so unfairly, but also how incredibly f-ed up the treatment options are for children. They physically destroyed my perfect baby with the golden curls. The medicine DESTROYED HIM just as much as the cancer did. He has been robbed of his quality of life for so long. How is it possible that there has been only ONE NEW DRUG approved for children?”
Can anyone answer that question? Because I can’t. And until I can, I won’t stop writing about it and doing my part to raise money for new drugs, not only to cure these children, but to do so without destroying their beautiful bodies in the process.
Please visit http://www.superty.org and spread the word about Ty as he nears the horrifying end of his long, torturous fight against this awful fucking beast that is childhood cancer. And pray for his family. Because once Ty’s torture ends, his family’s torture will only just begin.