It has now been 649 days since Megan was first diagnosed with stage 4 aveolar rhabdomyosarcoma cancer. Recovering from cancer is a long and arduous process as the disease takes such a physical and mental toll on the body. However, Megan continues to fight the good fight as she is determined to fully recover the life cancer unsuccessfully tried to steal from her. She continues to keep her days busy with school, attending Kenzie’s volleyball games, hanging out with friends, and of course, getting to her various medical appointments. Fortunately, her doctor appointments are becoming fewer and fewer, which is very nice because then she doesn’t have to miss school. Believe me…our family knows how fortunate we are that Megan has defiantly defied the odds by beating down cancer. It’s amazing how tough a 100 pound 15 year old girl can be. I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes a friend sent to me during Megan’s 54 week treatment.
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”
It was a very busy week around our house as Kenzie had volleyball matches on Tuesday and Thursday, and then competed in the Minooka tournament on Friday and Saturday. The Lady Coalers have 21 wins on the year with only two regular season games left on Monday and Tuesday. Monday is “Senior Night”, which will be an emotional evening. It’s hard to believe that Kenzie’s high school volleyball career is nearing an end. We are so proud of her and everything she has accomplished on the volleyball court during her career. Last week, I reported on the “Team Megan Night” fundraiser the volleyball team did to raise money for the pediatric cancer patients at Central DuPage Hospital. In our local paper this week, there was this picture of the girls as Kenzie dedicated her game to Megan.
Also from that game, we received this awesome picture from Fred Ritz. Fred has taken pictures at Coaler sporting events for years, and he is such a nice person. We especially liked this picture because it not only showed Kenzie in action, but most of our family and friends who attended the event are in the background. Unfortunately, Megan is hidden in the front row behind Kenzie, but it was still a great picture🙂
Last week, Megan was really struggling with some dizziness and headaches. Although it is still hitting her from time to time, she did much better this week. Her doctor still wants her to see her pediatric cardiologist just as a precautionary measure. The intensity of Megan’s chemo treatment caused some minor damage to her heart, and Dr. Salvi just wants to make sure that her heart is not causing any of her dizziness. The good news is that the symptoms seem to be waning.
As a parent, when you first hear the devastating news that your child has cancer, one of the first things you do is Google absolutely everything you can possibly find to become educated on the disease. Unfortunately, such a search makes you painfully aware of how underfunded childhood cancer research really is. In the past 20 years, the FDA has initially approved only two new drugs for childhood cancer, and half of all chemotherapies used for pediatric cancer are over 25 years old. About 96% of money for cancer research is dedicated to adult cancer, which leaves only 4% for all childhood cancers. As a result, there is an estimated $30 million annual gap in childhood cancer research funding. I strongly believe that our children are our most precious resource, and if that is the case, how can finding a cure for childhood cancer be such a low priority? In past discussions with Megan, she gets very irritated with these facts, and as a result, she is very interested in bringing more attention to this disparity in funding.
Luckily, there are groups out there who are doing everything they can to help bridge this gap in childhood cancer research. Today, our family went to Gardner-South Wilmington High School because we were invited to participate in a 5k walk to raise funds for the “Cure It Foundation”, which is a fantastic organization dedicated to supporting pediatric cancer research. The organizer of the event is a teacher at GSW High School, and her 5 year-old daughter is suffering from Leukemia, but thankfully, she is responding well to treatment. We were honored that Megan was asked to come and cut the yellow ribbon to start the walk. It was a tremendous event to raise money for a great cause. Unfortunately, Megan wasn’t feeling well this morning, so she didn’t participate in the walk, but she was able to be there for the opening ceremony and to cut the ribbon. Kenzie, Grandpa Bugg and I all walked the race in honor of Megan. Here are a few pictures from today’s event.
Cancer is such an awful disease, but it seems extra cruel when it picks on our children. We just have to do a better job of funding pediatric cancer research and finding a cure for this vicious illness. Thankfully, there are people like we met today at GSW high school who are taking matters into their own hands in an attempt to protect our children.
Until next week…