Celebrating life when your family is affected by childhood cancer

Hollyn

Hollyn is celebrating life.

When your family is affected by childhood cancer, you celebrate life every day. Our family recently stepped up the celebration with an amazing group of people. We attended the annual Celebrate Life event at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. It always amazes me how many kids are in this battle and how many are just out of treatment.

It was great to see my daughter Hollyn (who was diagnosed with cancer in 2005) and everyone else at the event get a lot of “wows” from the staff. She really is growing up. Her hair is longer, but she’s still the same girl many of them met seven years ago. I hope her warm smile and hugs never change.

There always is great music at this event, and whenever they play “I Hope You Dance,” by Lee Ann Womack, I get choked up. I look around the room as everyone holds hands and watch other parents who also have tears streaming down their cheeks. All of the kids get a medal, and for many, it hangs way down to their knees. We’re celebrating survival, which might mean one day after diagnosis, currently receiving care or years off treatment.

I think about how many families no longer come, because their kids aren’t here anymore. It hits me hard, and I realize something. I don’t want any more parents to come to this event.

National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

You might know September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and I hope you’ll take time to think about how important pediatric cancer research really is. We feel so grateful Hollyn can still celebrate life since being diagnosed with cancer at age 6 and then relapsing in 2007 and 2008. We thank God every day for her health, and we are glad Children’s Hospital is striving to make a difference in these children’s lives.

Our family loves to attend the Celebrate Life event every year. But I think it would be great if this event had to end, because cancer no longer existed.

I believe our Children’s Hospital doctors could be the ones to find break-through medicines, treatments and eventually a cure. So I encourage you to help Children’s Hospital provide the very best care for children with cancer. Please donate now to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Big or small, your gift can help get us closer to a cure.

~ Jennifer Peterson, guest blogger

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