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We Can't Turn Away From the 'Ugly' Sides of Pediatric Cancer

As human beings, in many situations, we choose to turn away from or not listen to things we deem unpleasant. I even find myself doing this sometimes.

It’s only natural that we choose to see the good or happy side of things because if you focus on the ugly or bad side, it can take a toll on you mentally and emotionally. But, turning away from the “ugly” or refusing to listen to the facts no matter how hard they may be to accept can be a road block to making a difference in the world, and in my case, in the pediatric cancer world.

It’s no secret that we don’t like to see anyone struggling or in pain, much less see this happening to kids because, let’s be honest, cancer is painful and not always pretty. There is no doubt about that. But, many people don’t see the struggles and hardships these kids go through. I am not saying the happy parts aren’t something people should see, but I think you have to show all parts, good and bad.

The truth is that pediatric cancer is still the number one killer of the nation’s children. There truly is nothing good about that and it is hard to put a pretty spin on it. This is something people do not want to hear. They would rather hear that 80% of kids survive five or more years now. This is a much less scary statistic that sounds a lot nicer.

But, unfortunately even those who do survive are now very susceptible to other issues that could last a lifetime. Survivors are now opened up to the possibility of complications due to the treatments they received. Treatments that are sometimes decades old and are meant for full grown adults, putting these medications into tiny bodies can also cause some issues even years after treatment is over.

This is frustrating because life shouldn’t be this way after treatment is over. Life should be “normal,” but it isn’t.

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I won’t sit here and say that it is all ugly and scary cause it isn’t there are some positives to this life. These kids are truly resilient and can teach people two, three times their age many lessons about life. Like, making a difference that can better the world, living your life to the fullest you can, not to focus on the small things and work to achieve your dreams and never stop. I want and I think people need to know all sides of the pediatric cancer world because what you see is not always all of it. These kids are resilient, but it’s not always just these little bald kids playing and having a fun time in their hospital rooms. They struggle and sometimes the struggle is more than most can imagine.

I think if we don’t show all sides of it, people will believe there is not much work to be done in terms of pediatric cancer. But, more than ever, there is so much that needs to be done, even though there have been major strides and there continues to be more every day. Pediatric cancer is scary and I know people don’t want to see it or talk about it, but unless we do and more people demand change, these kids will continue to be left in the dark. Speak up for those who may not be able to speak for themselves.

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