It is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and time for Alex’s Million Mile (AMM).
AMM is the largest childhood cancer awareness challenge that funds critical, innovative research. Childhood cancer families help lead the charge by forming teams, raising awareness, logging miles and fundraising.
A million miles may seem like a far distance—but families battling childhood cancer would go a million miles and more for cures for their children.
Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children in the United States. Research is critically underfunded as compared to adult cancer research. AMM is a chance to change that fact and to help continue Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s mission of finding cures and safer treatments for all children.
There are a million reasons why everyone should join the fight against childhood cancer. Last week, we shared four childhood cancer heroes, who are going the distance this September. Below, you can meet four more reasons why you should join AMM this September:
1. Morgan and Meg
Six-year-old Morgan and her sister Meg are super heroes.
Diagnosed at 2-years-old with stage IV neuroblastoma, Morgan had six rounds of chemotherapy, one round of high dose chemotherapy, a stem cell rescue, proton radiation therapy and immunotherapy. Morgan’s sister Meg, who was just in kindergarten at the time, struggled with her fears that she would lose her sister. She began her treatment at home in Arkansas, but then traveled to Philadelphia to access the treatment that has kept Morgan “NED” (no evidence of disease).
During treatment, Morgan made it her goal to beat cancer. And Meg made it her goal to help her sister and other children get cures. Besides participating in AMM, Meg, together with her family, runs in 5ks, hosts lemonade stands and works to raise money to support ALSF.
Abigail loved her family more than anything in the world. She was extraordinary in every way—beautiful, athletic, a talented preschooler and above all, the kindest person her mother ever knew.
Abigail was brave too.
When Abigail was 3-years-old, she began experiencing stomach pains. It seemed like she had a stomach bug that just would not go away. But it was not a bug, it was bilateral Wilms' tumor in Abigail’s kidneys and lungs. Treatment was intense and included chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Abigail never once complained during her year in and out of the hospital, at doctor’s appointments and in treatment. She never let sickness change the love she shared with others.
Sadly, her cancer returned. Abigail died when she was just 4-years-old.
Her family participates in AMM each September in Abigail’s memory. Racking up the miles has given Abigail’s mom, Christine, a way to grieve while fighting childhood cancer. The physical act of exercise gives Christine a way to fight the physical and mental effects of losing Abigail.
“Abigail put others first. She thought and acted unselfishly. We are always hearing about how we need to be a little selfish. Abigail never would have agreed to that, and I agree with Abigail,” said Christine.
Little Evie is battling childhood cancer for the second time in a year.
Evie’s diagnosis in June 2016 with unilateral retinoblastoma felt like a sucker punch.
“Before Evie was diagnosed, childhood cancer was something that happened to someone else,” said Carla, Evie’s mom.
Evie endured chemotherapy and dozens of scans, surgeries and other treatments. She had her central line removed nine months after diagnosis, a move that signaled the end of treatment. Her family thought they were finished with cancer. But then in early August, just about a year after Evie’s initial diagnosis, a scan revealed the cancer had returned at the original site. Evie is now battling again.
Nothing can prepare a family for childhood cancer.
However, Carla has found positivity in her family’s participation in AMM. The family takes walks together to rack up the miles and uses the time walking to talk about Evie’s treatment and about how cancer is affecting their lives.
“Alex’s Million Mile helped us see the light in a time of darkness and we would encourage any person, family or business to help raise money for this noble cause. In today’s world, positivity can go a long way,” said Carla.
Lexie is 11-years-old.
Lexie was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma at 9-months-old, a type of liver cancer. She spent the rest of her first year of life in and out of the hospital. Two days before Lexie turned 1, her father donated part of his liver to her. She celebrated her 1st birthday in the ICU, as the recipient of the best gift ever: a second chance at life.
Now, 10 years later Lexie lives a perfectly normal life as a big sister to two. Her family supports ALSF by hosting lemonade stands and participating in Alex’s Million Mile.
“Although our legs may burn and our lungs may hurt, the pain we feel is nothing compared to hearing your child has cancer,” said Lexie’s mom, Jessica.
Be Bold & Go Gold this September during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Turn awareness into action, by joining Alex’s Million Mile, the largest childhood cancer awareness challenge that funds researchers so they can find better treatments and more cures for kids battling cancer. Sign up to start your own Alex’s Million Mile team, or join an existing team, raise awareness and help us help kids fight cancer.