On November 3, 2010 our lives changed forever. You see, a massive tumor was found on Mason's brain stem. In an instant, Mason joined the club of cancer kids. This is not an exclusive club, and there is no jealousy associated with membership. If anything, it is a club where children are forced to grow up too fast and see far too much of the suffering in the world. Gone were his carefree days of mischief and here were days of surgeries, vomiting and chemo.
After Mason was diagnosed, I felt the most alone I've ever felt. It was odd, because I was surrounded by family, but each of us felt alone. It would take months for us to realize this, but the cancer kids club has a huge membership base in Utah. We were not alone, and the doctors were not lying when they told us Medulloblastoma is the second most common cancer after Leukemia. We know many more cancer families than we did before, but we still do not know them all. I am not sure it's possible.
Last year, Mason was just one little boy among 170-180 kids diagnosed with cancer at Primary Children's Medical Center. Some, like Mason, are still undergoing treatment. Some have earned some angel wings, and others still have kicked cancer's trash. The only way these kids have any chance is a specialized formulation of Chemotherapy and (in Mason's case) Radiation. These formulations were discovered in the 50s, 60s and 70s, and were not designed to treat children. The only thing changing right now are the dosages and the addition of adjuvants to counteract some of the more horrific side effects.
A little-known fact is that childhood cancer is much different than cancer in adults. Cancer in children is not caused by risk factors, diet, drug abuse, inhalants, etc. It is an area that is unique, and one that we need more research into. There is no reason kids like Mason should have long-term learning disabilities, secondary cancers, liver failure, or heart problems from cancer treatment.
CureSearch funds the COG (Children's Oncology Group); a group dedicated to research only into childhood cancer. 94% of funds raised by CureSearch goes directly to research facilities such as Primary Children's. This means that Mason, along with the 170 other kids diagnosed last year, is directly benefiting from these funds. (You basically cannot find another mainstream cancer organization that donates this much for childhood cancer. It's appalling the tiny amount of money organizations like the American Cancer Society dedicate for childhood cancer)
Wow, that was quite a soap box I was on, but the purpose for this post is to remind you all, be you family friends or lurkers; that:
The CureSearch Walk will make its first appearance in Utah
NEXT SATURDAY, JULY 9TH AT LIBERTY PARK IN SALT LAKE CITY
I know that times are hard for a lot of people right now. I am sure there are lots of demands on your time/money, but I am asking you to please consider walking with us. Registration is $10 for adults and kids under 16 are FREE! It's a 5k, so bring your strollers and let's make a day of it! You can register here (Mason's Brain Train is the team name), or the day of starting at 8am. Complete details are after the video.
If you are not able to walk it or be there, I encourage you to consider a donation, either to Mason's Brain Train Team or CureSearch as a whole. You can also register as a virtual walker. Every little bit helps, and you could not ask for a better cause!
Still not convinced? Need reason beyond Mason's story to help? Check out this video of some of the cute cancer kids from Utah
The CureSearch Walk will be Saturday, July 9th.
It is located at the south end of Liberty Park, 589 E 1300 S in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Registration can be done online or the day of the Walk at 8am (team name: Mason's Brain Train)
The Walk will begin at 9am
Registration is $10 for adults over 16 and FREE for kids.
It is a 5k, which amounts to 3 miles and 188 yards (or about 12 times around a track). Completely do-able!
Bring water to drink and comfy shoes, and we'll see you there!