September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) works every day to raise awareness and shed a light on all childhood cancers--and you can, too! Here are 10 fast facts you need to know:
1. Childhood cancer happens every month, everywhere. Every day, there are almost 700 new cases of childhood cancer around the world—adding up to over 250,000 new cases of cancer in children under the age of 20.
2. Childhood cancer is not one disease; it is dozens of diseases. Childhood cancers, like adult cancers, are varied and include blood cancers (like leukemia), brain and spinal tumors, other solid cell tumors (like neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma) and many variations of each disease. Research is needed for each type of childhood cancer.
3. Childhood cancer kills. Long term survival rates continue to increase, but not fast enough to save the lives of the 250 children killed each day due to cancer and its complications. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the United States.
4. Childhood cancer leaves survivors with long-term side effects. Toxic treatments and surgeries can leave childhood cancer survivors with an array of side effects—suppressed immune systems, chronic health conditions, hearing and visual impairments, muscle weakness and learning issues. Research into safer, more effective treatments will lead to fewer side effects for childhood cancer survivors.
5. Childhood cancer research is severely underfunded. Less than 5 percent of the federal government’s total funding for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancers each year—without funding, research will not happen. And without research, cures won’t happen either.
6. However, ALSF is working to change that through innovative research. ALSF uses money raised to fund innovative and targeted research to find new cures for childhood cancer. ALSF also funds nursing grants to improve the quality of care for children battling cancer and has a Travel for Care fund to alleviate financial burdens and ensure everyone can access treatment.
7. Data, collaboration and innovation will lead us to a cure. ALSF not only funds cutting-edge research—we drive collaboration amongst scientists through our annual Young Investigators Summit. We are also launching the first ever bioinformatics labs that will analyze and decipher childhood cancer data being generated in research facilities across the country to accelerate research.
8. Childhood cancer research works. Just ask Zach and Edie. Innovative childhood cancer research works and breakthroughs are happening. Zach, who is now 11 years old, survived relapsed anapestic large cell lymphoma because of breakthrough treatment funded by ALSF.
9. Awareness is critical. More awareness about childhood cancer—both its impact and the need for research—is critical. Awareness spurs action and action leads to research and ultimately a cure. You can share the childhood cancer gold ribbon on your social media pages to help raise awareness.
10. You can make a difference. Donate, host a lemonade stand, participate in Alex's Million Mile and share these childhood cancer facts with your network. Everyone can make a difference in the fight against childhood cancer, one cup at a time.