Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lunch for a Cure - the rebirth of purpose

Each year since Sydney's diagnosis of neuroblastoma we have counted on our friends and family to help us put an end to this deadly disease. This year we have launched Lunch for a Cure to help make the difference. As of today, we have raised $948,000.00 and we are hoping to break the $1 million mark by the end of the year. With enough lunches we will get there. As I do every year, I make a plea to all of my friends and family to help us achieve our goal.

Here goes!

When Sydney was diagnosed with neuroblastoma we were thrust into a world of unknowns. She was just 2 years old and facing, unbeknownst to us at the time, over 4 years of intense therapy. In that time she would encounter so much chemotherapy that, for many of the drugs, she would receive a lifetime maximum. Sydney also endured multiple surgeries and she faced a stem cell transplant which, like most children, nearly took her life. That was followed by over 30 rounds of radiation and years of oral chemotherapy. She also tolerated almost 3 years full of painful immunotherapy treatments and, to this day, has probably received as much as anyone in the world. In all, she would be a part of 6 clinical trials and she would be treated in three different hospitals throughout the country.

All of this was with no guarantee of success.

All of this with a track record of less than a 25% chance at survival.

Even given all of that, Sydney is certainly considered one of the lucky ones. She is still here. Sure, she has hearing loss as a side effect from the chemotherapy. She also has thinning hair and a multitude of other treatment related late effects.

But, she is here. She is alive.

During this same period though, most of the others with her same diagnosis did not survive. They were little kiddos just like Sydney. Perfectly healthy and wonderfully pure, they were just like every other toddler you have ever looked at with a smile on your face. There is no rhyme or reason. It could have been your child, your grandchild, or even one of their friends.

I can tell you that as it was one of mine.

Childhood cancer isn't right and it isn't fair.

We can do better.

It was all of this realization that motivated me to want to create a change. It was out of this that Lunch for a Cure was born. The simple idea of giving up one lunch and donating the lunch money for research into a cure for neuroblastoma. If enough people would give up one day's lunch we could cure this cancer. We could reduce the side effects of the treatment and we could guarantee that more children could grow up to live happy lives.

Research funds are desperately needed. Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer found in infants and the most common extra cranial solid tumor cancer found in children. Furthermore, cancer remains the number one disease killer of children in the US.

Now, let me put it into perspective. Last year the National Institute of Health funded over $680 million dollars in research for breast cancer. They provided less than $10 million to fund neuroblastoma research. This disparity is huge and this is the reason that research funding is so desperately needed for children with neuroblastoma. This is where your lunch money comes in.

Please consider giving up one lunch and donating those dollars to Lunch for a Cure. If you can afford it, I challenge you to give up one lunch per month for a year and become a member of the Lunch a Month Club. Every single penny you donate will go directly towards neuroblastoma research. Your donations will not be used for administration costs or marketing costs. 100% of your donation will go to The Neuroblastoma Foundation to fund neuroblastoma research.

Please go to http://www.LunchforaCure.org to donate your lunch and, please, ask all of your friends to do the same.

Your lunch will save lives.

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