Letter: Help stomp out childhood cancer

Published 9:26 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2018

September marks the beginning of fall festivals and fun activities for many, but for many others this month is for Childhood Cancer Awareness and trying to publicize the need for new and better treatments for the children diagnosed with childhood cancer. 

In our geographical region, a child diagnosed with cancer will be treated in one of three locations: University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City, Mayo Clinic in Rochester or Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. For these kids and their families, this involves hospitalizations at those locations for varying amounts of time, ambulance rides because of fevers or other reactions to treatment and often one parent leaving the workforce to become a full time caregiver. Of the precious children diagnosed, one out of five will die, survivors are more likely to develop secondary cancers, heart failure and other health problems with about 35 percent dying within 35 years of diagnosis. 

But what is truly unacceptable is that so little progress has been made in finding new treatments for these kids.  Only 4 percent — yes 4 percent — of the National Cancer Institute’s budget is designated for childhood cancer research. In the last 30 years, only three new drugs have been approved that were specifically developed to treat children with cancer.  When you consider that childhood cancer is not one disease but is comprised of 12 major types and over 100 subtypes, it is easy to see much more is needed.

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So, with September being designated Go Gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness, please find a way to support further research for kids. One way is to support a fundraiser Stomping Out Childhood Cancer from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 29 at Surf District Rock ’n Roll Grill, Clear Lake, from 1 to 4 pm. All proceeds will be donated to Childrens Oncology Group  Foundation to aid in research.  All of the hospitals mentioned above are members of COG and directly benefit from this research.

Please help stomp out childhood cancer!

Donna Buol

Clear Lake