Oct
0

Childhood Cancer Awareness

SEPTEMBER

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

I realize this is October 1st, and September is over, but the awareness for Childhood Cancer should be a priority all year long!

Here are some facts that most people are not aware of:

  • 720 Children are diagnosed with cancer every day
  • 250 Children die every day from cancer
  • Childhood Cancer is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 15 in the U.S.
  • One in every 330 children will develop cancer before the age of 19
  • 500,000 estimated number of children are fighting cancer globally

Other cancer facts:

  • 20,000 people a year, might benefit from a potentially life-saving bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant
  • 1 in 72 people will likely be diagnosed with leukemia during their lifetime
  • Stem cells found in umbilical cord blood are the leading treatment for one of the most common cancers
  • Your baby’s cord blood could save the life of a brother, sister, mom, dad, grandparent, uncle or aunt or a complete stranger!

You may not be the parent of a child with cancer, neither was I until the day of my daughter’s diagnosis.

If you are pregnant, or know someone that is, please educate yourself and encourage them to learn more about their options with their baby’s cord blood.

Together we can save lives!

Lea Ann Stiller

 

 

Jun
0

Cancer-Me?

It’s been a while since I’ve shared anything thats going on in my life. I have been so busy that I haven’t had the time to write.  I am going to take you back to where I left off starting in January 2011.

I (like MANY others) suffer from really bad acid reflux. As a result of this I had to have my esophagus surgically dilated on a routine basis. Unfortunately the last time I had the procedure performed the Dr. tore the wall of my esophagus.  A tear of this kind is rare and statistically life threatening. I only spent three days in the hospital and luckily the tissue repaired itself. Needless to say I was a little apprehensive to have the procedure done anymore. When it was that time again Mom decided to come with me.  It was a regular cold winter day in January in the city as we headed to the hospital  (Sloan Kettering).

Since I was born with FA I am prone to head and neck cancers. Dr’s are always taking biopsy’s of my esophagus anytime it looked suspicious. When I was waking up in the recovery room the Dr. came in and said they were unable to dilate it at all due to a lump they found in the wall. He explained that he thought it looked very concerning and he would call later in the week with results from the biopsy they took. Immediately mom’s eyes swelled up with tears. I remember being scared but also feeling positive since I had had so many biopsy’s in the past. We called family right away and that was gut wrenching, as they all sobbed.

Mom decided to stay to find out the diagnosis and those were some of the hardest days just waiting for results. When the day the Dr. called I was standing starring out the window of our 36th floor apt. He said the results showed that I did in fact have squamous cell carcinoma (a dangerous form of cancer) in my esophagus. He didn’t know anything other than that I had to have many other tests performed to see if was spreading. I hung up the phone ,sat down and began shaking and crying. Mom could tell right away and she held me in her arms for many minutes which seemed like hours. We both knew the road ahead of us was going to long and tough. Being an FA patient meant I would not be able to receive the most common and sucessfull forms of treatment, chemo and radiation. My best bet would be if it had not spread to have it surgically removed. If it had spread we really would be much more limited with our options. Now all we could do is wait my next apt.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more stories to tell.

Jan
6

Brothers and Sisters and A New Lease on Life

Kitty McAllister's wedding day

Kitty McAllister's wedding day

Everyday brings me inspiration, but sometimes something extra special happens that really touches my heart. While watching the most recent episode of ABC’s hit television show Brother’s and Sister’s, I was brought to tears. This season of the show has had one of the biggest plot lines yet.  One of the shows leading ladies,Kitty McAllister, played by actress Calista Flockheart,  is diagnosed with stage three Lymphoma (fatal form of cancer).

When the chemo treatments fail to cure Kitty, her doctors suggest that her best chance for survival is a bone marrow transplant.  Soon after the search for a match begins they discover her half brother is in deed a match. Kitty undergoes the dangerous procedure and is in remission from her cancer.

The type of cancer Kitty suffered from is treatable with stem cells. The same stem cells found in cord blood.

The show gives a realistic portrayal of what a family goes through in a medical tragedy, in the words of Kitty McAllister:

Mom, cancer free! “Mom you got to do it all,you got to take us to school, you got to watch us grow up, you got to see us get married, I want to do it all, I want to live”

“What if I never see him again? Oh God I’m scared.”

“I can’t even believe it, I’m going to get to see him go to pre-school!”

While this show had a happy ending, unfortunately so many people are not as lucky.  Saving the cord is literally saving a life, the stem cells inside are so priceless. If you missed the last episode of Brother’s and Sister’s I encourage you to watch it. It will tug at your heart strings, but  it will leave you with a new understanding about how fragile life really is.

Don’t take your life for granite!  Please help spread the word about cord blood preservation!

Together We Can Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

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