What I Care About. Maybe You Should Too.

I was diagnosed with cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, when I was 34, in 2000. My daughter, Kaitlin, was two at the time. Three years later, after much treatment, two remissions (no sign of cancer) and two recurrences (cancer was found again), I was told by a well-respected specialist at a world famous cancer center that I was terminally ill and I should give up trying to be cured. “There’s no easy way to say this,” he told me, “But, you’ll never get rid of this disease.” 


That was in 2003. I was 37. Kaitlin was five. Contrary to his advice, I continued with treatment and I’ve been in remission since March 2003. My brother died of multiple myeloma in 2006 when he was 46. He left behind three sons, ranging in age from eight to fifteen. A friend lost his wife to brain cancer when their son was eight. Every day across the country young kids are losing a parent to cancer. I was almost one of them.


My family moved from Connecticut to Pennsylvania in 2004. I joined what was then called Gilda’s Club Delaware Valley, which is now the Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia (CSC). It’s a home away from home for cancer patients, cancer survivors, their families and friends. It’s a place where you can be yourself and receive free support from the staff and fellow members. There are emotional support programs, educational presentations and events where all you need to do is have fun.


For many years my family has raised money for their kids and teens programs. I’ve volunteered my time there for outreach and fundraising events. I now produce their monthly podcast.


My family learned that as difficult as it can be for adults to go through cancer, it can be even worse for kids. Those being helped may have the disease or, most commonly, their parents have cancer. Sometimes kids need help to grieve the loss of a parent. They may need help because they’re bullied because of their parent’s disease. Other times they hang out and play video games or celebrate good news.


If this is something that hits home with you, there are Cancer Support Communities across the country. If you want to join us in supporting kids enduring what may be one of the toughest times of their lives, please make a donation. Thank you for your time and consideration.