Kids get cancer too – it happens more than you think

So over the weekend my newsfeed was full of people posting when they became aware of paediatric cancer. Most were posting dates of their own childs diagnoses or the date of a loved ones or family members disgnoses. The truth is Finlay’s diagnoses was far from the first time I’d come across childhood cancer. Nope the first time I found out kids could get cancer I was a child myself growing up in a small country town. A child from our community was diagnosed with Leukemia. He was older than me and his name was Chris. His illness was not talked about alot but I do remember thinking he was going to die. We donated to telethon. As far as I am aware he is doing well.

The second time I became aware of childhood cancer was when I returned to teaching (part time) after Milla was born. One of my sweet year 1 students was diagnosed. I sent her home on the Friday and by the time I returned to school on the Monday I found out she had stage four cancer with an inoperable tumour wrapped around her spine. Her name was Claudia and I was devastated, I thought she was going to die. I was there when camp quality came out and did their puppet show for the school. I bought her gifts, books toys beanies, headbands. I hurt for her mum so bad but did not know what to do. As far as I am aware she is doing well now.

It doesn’t stop there, the next time was when a friend from my online mothers group posted a blog about a baby with a terminal brain tumour. His name was Bebe and he was small but mighty. His mumma’s blog had me in endless tears, I was so very heartbroken for the family. I continued to read every single blog post from his Mumma for years before Finlay’s diagnoses. I felt helpless and incapable of making any difference. Sadly Bede passed away earlier this year.

Then one day after Finlay was born Darren came home from work and told me one of the guys in his industry 8 month old baby had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma. I was absolutely shocked and heartbroken. Her name was Maddie and we agreed we had to do whatever we could to help the family. We donated to the family’s auction and I watched with tears as they had their house renovated. I thought that was enough… Maddie is now doing very well and we call her family lifelong friends.

All these precious children and I honestly still thought this disease only affected 1 or 2 children a year. I honestly thought that and I was legitimately shocked when I discovered otherwise.  All these precious children and I will openly admit I only ever reacted with sympathy. I sympathised, I cried, I gave presents and made donations but I didn’t do anything. I could not respond with empathy because I did not get it.

Perhaps this is the reason I now act so passionatley about raising awareness and I fight so hard to get others to act. I totally get that untill it’s your child it is just not a priority, because you have a life and it just isnt, i get it because you are me. But because you are me, I know, I sadly really really know that it may not be today and it may not be ever but one day you could easily be me. There is nothing keeping you safe and then like me and like many many other mothers your world will never be the same. If I can encourage you to understand that and to not just sympathise but act then maybe I can forgive myself for not doing the same … #kidsgetcancertoo #gogold #ithappensmorethanyouthink #youarenotsafe