Over the last five years, mothers of children have always commented that they wished someone would dance for just childhood cancer. After two years of praying about dancing for childhood cancer, God dropped the title in my heart, Dancing for Gold. The gold ribbon is the color for childhood cancer awareness. I know what the pink ribbon is because I am a breast cancer survivor. Many years ago, my breast oncologist at Vanderbilt informed me that children do not get breast cancer, which is an adult cancer. She went on to tell me when children are diagnosed with cancer, they go through cancer treatments that are ten times more aggressive than treatments for adults! In the last five years, I have seen that what my oncologist said is the truth.
Childhood cancer only receives 4% funding from the Federal Government, and adults receive 96% funding. Since 1980 there have only been four specifically approved treatments for childhood cancer. Many times, children are forced to take treatments that have been developed for adults when they have childhood cancer. I would never have given my two-year-old child adult Tylenol. Would you? Think about the damage children/adolescents are experiencing by taking adult, outdated treatments for cancer. Children deserve better treatments and more than 4% funding for cancer.
There is no local children’s hospital for a family with a child attacked by cancer in Western Kentucky or Southern Illinois. These families are forced to travel out of town for treatment for their very seriously ill children. Not having a local facility for childhood cancer is a real problem!
One of the parents, usually the mom, will lose their job after 12 weeks of FMLA is exhausted. I have seen many single moms over the years, and they struggle to make ends meet at home. They have bills that continue to come in for things like: house/rent payments, automobile payments, automobile insurance, automobile repairs, cell phone bills, utility bills, and the list goes on. Early on, I met a single mother that had five children and had lost her job because her 12 weeks of FMLA had run out. She had sold all her furniture, her stove, and refrigerator. Her home was in foreclosure, and this had absolutely nothing to do with medical bills for her child. The lack of funds had everything to do with her not having money coming in to pay her bills at home. All children’s hospitals across the country will write pediatric cancer debt off after taking your insurance card, Medicare card, and Medicaid card.
A light came on when I began to see the financial struggles families were going through because of their child having cancer. I knew Book for Hope would want to provide financial assistance to families trying to pay their bills, who had a child fighting for their life. In January 2017, Book for Hope voted as a board to financially assist families monthly with bills (not medical).
Book for Hope gives an emergency envelope after a pediatric oncology social worker fills out an application for a family whose child is diagnosed with cancer, and then emails it to our organization. The parents needing help are involved with the application process as well.
Book for Hope gives these families an emergency envelope containing a $150.00 pre-loaded Visa card, a $50.00 restaurant card, and a $50.00 fuel card. The next month the families can submit a bill to our organization for payment to their vendor. We continue to help support the family as long as their child is receiving cancer treatments. Sometimes a child must be treated for 3 1/2 years!
Book for Hope understands when families have a child receiving cancer treatment; they do not need money management classes, they need immediate help, not due to any fault of their own.
We give a portion of proceeds to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, designated to childhood cancer treatment, also.
Childhood cancer is the number one disease-related cause of death in children of all diseases combined. Every day, 43 children in the USA receive a cancer diagnosis! That is double the size of a classroom. Last year there were nearly 16,000 newly diagnosed cases of childhood cancer in our country and the number is growing each year. 1 out of 8 children will not survive a cancer diagnosis. 1 out of 285 children gets cancer before their 20th birthday. 60% of children who survive cancer suffer long-term side effects.
Now you know why we are #DancingForGold2021, and Just Imagine if your child had cancer. It can happen to anyone. Close your eyes and imagine if this were your child…what would you want people to do? I have never in five years heard a parent say they knew cancer would attack their child. I have heard a parent say it felt like an atomic bomb had hit their child.
The link to Dancing for Gold is https://p2p.onecause.com/dancingforgold, where you can support a dancer by purchasing a table or individual seat. You can also make donations to support your favorite dancer.
Gaylon Hayden, President
Book for Hope, Inc.
Book for Hope®, Inc. is organized and will be operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 or its successor provisions.
JUST IMAGINE® is the Registered Trademark of Book for Hope Childhood Cancer Organization