Gun Control, Childhood Cancer and Voices

Zack Mayo September 17, 1998 - May 28, 2011Cause of death - liver cancer

Zack Mayo September 17, 1998 – May 28, 2011
Cause of death – liver cancer

How many children have to die?

I listened to a clip that featured Gabby Gilfords testimony in hearings on Capitol Hill last week.
“Too many children are dying. Too many children,”she said.

YES!! Too many children are dying!!nick stand

“We must do something,” she said, “It will be hard but the time it now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you.”

And my stomach ached.

Because the passion she and others are displaying for children is only for children who die from a killer with a gun.
There is a heated debate among our politicians for and against gun control. All of our media outlets are covering these highly charged debates.

And I love living in a country where we can express our passions and get things done using that passion as fuel.

But I can’t help but ask “Where is the passion for the 7 children who die every single day from childhood cancer?” Those numbers don’t seem to matter – we rarely – if ever – hear about it on the national news.

But these numbers matter to me and the other parents who lose their children to cancer.

Where is the passion for stopping the killer who murdered our 12 year old son and 6 other children on May 28, 2011? Where is the passion for stopping the killer who is still on the loose taking 7 children and rolling the dice on 46 more every single day?

These numbers are shocking to me.

In 3 days, more children die from cancer than were killed in the recent horrific school shooting.

“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future” – JFK

Kayne Warters  dob July 6 2008.  Currently fighting Metastatic Angiosarcoma.  If you research this cancer, you will see that the prognosis is poor. His twin brother, Ashton, is being monitored for lesions present in his liver.

Kayne Warters dob July 6 2008. Currently fighting Metastatic Angiosarcoma. If you research this cancer, you will see that the prognosis is poor and options for treatment are very limited. His twin brother, Ashton, is being monitored for lesions present in his liver.

And people, rightfully so, are outraged at the killer at the school – the gunman – and want to do something – anything – to prevent it happening again.

But are we numb to childhood cancer?
Have we just become accepting of it?
Are these children any less important than children who are gunned down?
Don’t they deserve a voice?
Why are we not demanding more for them?

Why?

Are we all willing to continue to gamble that it won’t happen to our children?

Don’t all of our children count?

Our sweet friend Kyle Williams left this world shortly before our own Zack. He died of neuroblastoma

Our sweet friend Kyle Williams left this world shortly before our own Zack. He died of neuroblastoma

Don’t children with cancer deserve a full fledge commitment to a “War on Childhood Cancer”?

Fact: The incidence of invasive pediatric cancers is up 29% in the past 20 years.
Fact: In 20 years the FDA has initially approved only two drugs for any childhood cancer – 1/2 of all chemotherapies used for children’s cancers are over 25 years old
Fact: On the average, one in every four elementary schools has a child with cancer. The average high school has two students who are current or former cancer patients.
Fact: Despite these facts, childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded.
Fact: Research and development for new drugs from pharmaceutical companies comprises 60% of funding for adult cancer drugs and close to zero for childhood cancers.
Fact: NCI (our tax dollars) spends 96% of its budget on adult cancers and only 4% of its budget on children’s cancers.

Fact: Childhood cancer is ugly.
Fact: There is no known cause for childhood cancer. This means EVERY child is at risk!! Even yours.

And if we believe the evening news, then we know that children being killed by guns can be prevented if we ban this or that. And people are willing to spend money – whatever it takes – to prevent such killings.

Meanwhile, the lack of available successful treatments for children with cancer is beyond outrageous.

Our son Zack, at age 11, was given smaller doses of adult treatment because not enough children get liver cancer to deserve treatment specifically designed for a child’s growing body.

Side effects of the available treatment are horrible. Children get to spend their days and nights attached to an IV pole and suffer nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, muscle and stomach pains. Children with cancer suffer from swelling, peeling blisters on their skin and sores in their mouth and throat. Children with cancer eat through a feeding tube. Older children with cancer are reduced to wearing diapers again as they lose control of their bodily functions. Children with cancer watch as their families struggle to balance jobs, finances and the daily demands of caring for a child with cancer.
They become sterile from their treatment, they go deaf, they go blind, they have brain damage, they have heart damage, they have speech problems – the list goes on and on…

Fact: Children with cancer want to live.
Fact: Children with cancer deserve a chance.

How many children have to die from cancer before we consider it too many?
And does it only become too many when it is your child?
And you may ignore this blog post and go on about your “normal” life with your healthy children and you may only stop and think you need to take some sort of action when it becomes your child.

Or you can help by contacting your political representatives and tell them that ALL children count and demand more funding for pediatric cancer research. You can contact your representatives with the following links: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
You can also help by making a donation to organizations that support research for childhood cancer. Organizations like St Baldwicks, http://www.stbaldricks.org/filling-the-funding-gap
Alex’s Lemonade Stand http://www.alexslemonade.org/ both focus on childhood research.

I will be a voice.

I will be a voice for those who cannot speak.

I will be a voice for Zack.

I will be a voice for your child and mine.

Because one person can make a difference and every person should try….

And if it makes a difference for just one, then that will be all the difference in the world.

Because don’t all of our children matter?

I have never posted this picture before because it is so personal. This is the last picture taken of our precious Zack only hours before he would leave us.  But this picture matters so much. Our children should not have to suffer and die from cancer.

I have never posted this picture before because it is so personal. This is the last picture taken of our precious Zack only hours before he would leave us. You can see his jaundice was severe(as his liver quit functioning), he was weak and his belly was so swollen… But this picture represents so much…How many more have to die before you do something? None of our children should not have to suffer and die from cancer.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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17 thoughts on “Gun Control, Childhood Cancer and Voices

  1. Powerful and true words Wendy. You are absolutely right – it could happen to anyone’s child and we must take a stand against childhood cancer. It is just a horrific a killer as a gunman. Thanks for sharing this very beautiful and personal photo.

  2. Thank you for being a voice Wendy. I will be a voice as well and share this message with others and fight for our children to live long healthy lives.

  3. It’s so very true and so very sad. Our children NEED a voice and I too refuse to suffer in silence. This comparison is a great platform ( not to diminish the loss of the children who were gunned down). Thank you for including my Kyle in this post:0)

  4. AMEN!!!
    It is disgusting that there is not more emphasis and funding put into childhood cancer and other diseases!!! When will they wake up and open their eyes on this subject??!!!

  5. In honor of my four year old grandson, I will be a voice for a child taken too soon. I will contact my representatives. God bless you Wendy and family…

  6. Oh Wendy, so beautifully said; every child lost is one child too many. Thank you for being a voice and I will share this on my facebook page!
    Blessings to you and your precious family.

  7. I love you guys so much! And your voice/words are amazing, Wendy! I actually shared this on my facebook page… getting the word out. And, I am contacting my representatives.

  8. Oh my sweet friend…I am trying to find the words to express my truest thoughts at this moment. Once upon a time long ago, you were my mentor…listened to my fears, worries and my crying over silly things that at that time in our lives were most important…things that just don’t matter anymore. But this I know is true about you sweet Wendy…You show an amazing passion for things close to your heart. After I read this post this morning, I have thought about it non-stop. I don’t know your pain. I don’t know what it feels like to see my child go through what Zack did and feel helpless. I don’t know what it feels like every day you wake up and Zack isn’t there. But this I know…God has given you an amazing talent. The talent to share your story, Zack’s story. Use your passion and be a voice for all the children who have been defeated by this killer as well as all of those who will face it tomorrow. I will stand beside you and hold your hand…just as you did for me once upon a time. Please let me know how to get involved to fight with you. Love you girl!

  9. Wendy, I was led to your story several years ago through a friend and have followed your blog and prayed for your family since. Have you ever heard of an organization named “I Care I Cure”? http://www.icareicure.org It was founded by a former client of mine who lost her vibrant son to cancer at age 11. The mission of the organization is exactly what you have expressed here, to provide awareness and funding of childhood cancer, with the ultimate goal of finding gentler treatments for pediatric cancers. It may be just the “voice” you are looking for? Thank you for your honest and convicting words here in each of your entries!

  10. So very sorry for your loss. Seeing that very personal picture you posted at the end of your post is something that I will never forget. I have three kids myself and I have been very fortunate that they have been healthy. I also know that that could always change and I would want people to be aware. I think we all owe it to our kids and to the families that have lost to bring more awareness to get more funding. Our kids need to come first!!! I reposted your article and thank you so much for sharing. Your family is in my prayers! – Charity Long

  11. I feel and understand your pain and frustration. I two was blind to childhood cancer until 12/28/11. My world changed that day and ten months later my sweet Alivia died from a tumor located in the pons. DIPG. You’re in my heart and prayers. And together we all need to fight. AMEN AMEN AMEN

  12. I am trying to type this as the tears are flowing down my cheeks. This is so hard for me to see these beautiful children fighting for their lives like this and the extreme suffering they are having to endure! I follow numerous children on Facebook that are afflicted with this terrible disease. My father died of cancer when I was only 10 months old so cancer has ALWAYS been my enemy! It was hard enough to lose my father at such a young age to cancer, but it is NOTHING compared to watching and praying for these beautiful children every day to beat this horrible disease. Unfortunately there are not many winning! MY father died almost 62 years ago of cancer and you would think we would have a cure for cancer by now! We have all of this amazing technology today……my granddaughters sit and play the x-box and talk to other children on headsets……why is there not a cure for cancer? I think we need to get our priorities straight! God bless you Wendy and the amazing work you do!

  13. I know your feelings all too well. I lost my son to brain cancer in June 2012. He was only 5, the same age as most the children who died in that shooting. I said very similar things after the uproar over the shooting and people acted as if I was wrong or uncaring. It wasn’t that at all I just think all children’s deaths should create an uproar. So many of our children die in what seems silence. Like they weren’t important and just get swept under the rug. I fight everyday for childhood cancer. I keep my son’s Facebook page open to use it to spread awareness. We don’t get near as many responses to our post or donations to our cause as we did when he was alive but I keep pushing. I try to tell people I am doing this for their kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. But they don’t seem to get it. How long will it take for people to wake up and realize it could be their family next? Unfortunately I don’t think most will realize till its too late. Hugs to your family<3

  14. Thank you Wendy for being so strong to share this with us. I just sent a plea to my legislator and requested my friends to do the same. I also pledge to keep doing whatever I can to help with this important issue. My prayers are with you and your family to continue this is your son’s honor and memory. I pray you will be totally successful, and I thank you for doing this for all of us, especially the children in all of our worlds.