Something BIG just happened in my life.
On February 16, I shaved my head for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, in order to promote solidarity between kids with cancer and people without, to raise money for a cure, and to be a “walking billboard” for the cause!
This isn’t just any kind of fundraiser. This is me asking for any donation you may be able to give, to help save a kid’s LIFE. To help find a cure for an ugly disease that doesn’t have the right to take as many people as it does.
In an era of scarcity and widespread disagreement about the proper role of government in the lives of its citizens, one thing is clear:
Governments around the world, for reasons mainly economic, are reducing funding for childhood cancer research.
In the United States, four decades after the official start of the War on Cancer, the fight is far from over. In fact, for young people, new challenges arise all the time:
For those of you who haven’t met Justin Miller yet, you’re missing out. He’s our friend, Ambassador, and all around inspiration, and he’s only 9 years old. Justin has been fighting cancer for 2/3 of his life. He doesn’t remember life without cancer.
Sickeningly, I’ve pondered what that must be like…I definitely wouldn’t be as strong as Justin, nor would my faith be. When Justin learned of his latest relapse, Justin told his Mom, “The cancer won’t win as long as I have the three goods.” She asked him what the three goods were and he replied:
As I sit here and reflect on our last year, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with an extreme range of emotions. I can truthfully admit I wasn’t sure if Justin would be here this Christmas, not that I didn’t have hope and not that I didn’t think he could prevail, but because we didn’t have any treatment options available to us. Justin had multiple relapses, weakened bone marrow, low platelets and an ANC that was consistently low. We mustered through each day over the last holiday season, put a smile on our faces and prayed for something to turn up. Justin wasn’t ready to give up; I wasn’t ready to give up.
By Lori Miller, mother to Justin, St. Baldrick’s Foundation 2012 Ambassador Kid and Childhood Cancer Fighting Ninja
First and foremost, I want to thank the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer for allowing us to represent the collaboration of these two organizations on the Stand Up To Cancer Broadcast last Friday evening. We were proud to represent our beautiful ANGEL friends, our fellow cancer fighters, and those who will be following us in the future. We need cures now and the time is now, especially during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, to stand up and tell the world about childhood cancer.
In late 2009, Patrick McCarrick, long-time St. Baldrick’s volunteer and shavee, decided to do something that would inspire people to join him in the fight to conquer childhood cancers. He established Climb for Five (C45) – a team with a mission to summit the highest peaks on each of the continents while raising funds and awareness for life-saving childhood cancer research. Since then, the C45 Team has climbed Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010 and Washington state’s Mount Rainier in 2011.
Photo by Rachel Kemble Photography
Sit down for this one…are you sitting? The cancer is gone! None, zero, zip…gone! I am still slightly surprised, definitely pleasantly surprised, but still reeling in the adrenaline of the news. We are beyond thrilled!
When the doctor called to give us the scan results, he said there was good news and bad news. The good news: there was no sign of cancer on the MIBG scan, the MRI and the CT scans – none. They were all pleasantly surprised. The bad news: they didn’t have a plan for Justin. Since there is no cancer present, he can’t do another round of MIBG therapy and without active cancer he is excluded from other studies as well.
As many of you know, Justin, St. Baldrick’s Foundation 2012 Ambassador Kid, is battling childhood cancer for the fifth time. His family has decided to move forward with MIBG therapy, an up-and-coming treatment for advanced-stage neuroblastoma. He started this therapy today at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
MIBG is a form of radiation therapy that is safer than traditional radiation because it can deliver the radiation directly to the tumor. This means that all other healthy tissues in his body will receive minimal exposure.
Follow Justin’s four-day experience with MIBG therapy, an up-and-coming treatment for advanced-stage neuroblastoma. This therapy involves radiation and requires Justin to stay in a lead-lined room, alone, until his radioactive levels have lowered. Justin is battling childhood cancer for the fifth time and is a St. Baldrick’s Foundation 2012 Ambassador Kid. The updates below have been provided by Justin’s mother, Lori.
Kelly and her brother, Justin. Rachel Kemble Photography
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