As Greta was explaining to me today why she's said chemo-what-a-pee, I finally got it, just how much she really gets this...
"I said Chemo-what-a-pee because I thought you said Chemo-FAIR-a-pee and I didn't understand... I didn't think it was fair."
(Greta has a bit of a childhood lisp, and still gets some sounds mixed up, "th" and "f" sound the same... hence the "fair" and "ther" sounding the same when she tried to repeat the word back to me when we first told her about her cancer and her treatment).
Her comment hit me like a ton of bricks, I felt warm tears, and a chest full of hard-learned understanding.
Learning this big new word for the first time last year, at the tender age of 5, while most of her friends were in kindergarten, learning the alphabet, singing action songs, I would agree, was far from fair.
Greta said this to me with a smile. She's not mad, she says it wasn't too bad (the chemo), but yes, you're right Greta, chemotherapy and cancer (for kids or for anyone) just isn't fair.
Greta knows that mommy is working hard to help find, fund, and advocate for better treatments that don't make kids so sick. She tells me she wants to have a lemonade stand or sell some rainbow loom bracelets or something (maybe even walk across Abbotsford) to make some money to help kids with cancer have more fun, play more music, have more comfortable beds, and have medicine that doesn't burn them or make them puke. Wow. All that from the mouth of my 6 year old. And she knows.
(I have to also mention that whenever Greta mentions making money for a cause, she always mentions feeding and housing the homeless, and kids with cancer).
We've learned so much this year.
Today, on world cancer day, consider a world with no barriers to cancer care, "cancer without borders." Consider us all working together to help these kids and families and loved ones with cancers get the newest and most recent treatments. For the good of us all, for the lives of these kids, please let's find some treatments that are fair.
Please help me support and advocate for research and trials into non-toxic or targeted therapies. Newer, more novel approaches are needed for children, to protect their growing bodies. These same treatments will be an improvement for adults as well.
Greta does not know the long term, or the bigger risks of all the toxic chemotherapy and radiation she's had. She doesn't know that she won't be able to have children, or that the treatment itself causes cancer at a rate of 1/5, none of that matters yet, because for now, we are simply buying short term time. Greta simply knows that she felt sick, and that her skin burned to the point of blistering, and scarring. And that, in itself, is a reason for change.
Please speak up for kids with cancer, speak up for research for these kids, tell everyone you know that you care, and one day we will do it. We will have a fair plan for those with cancer.
Every child has a dream. Greta's is one for cancer treatments that are fair. (Ones that work better and hurt less, we've lost too many dear friends this year).
Currently childhood cancer is drastically underfunded and passed off as rare. We need to stop calling it rare, as it's the #1 killer of our kids here in Canada.... and that is so far from fair.
If you want to make things a bit more fair for kids with cancer, please help fund research specific to children, ask me how.
If you'd like to help join an advocacy group, for fairer, newer treatments for our kids (and the adults too, we all benefit) please let me know. A fairer tomorrow starts today.
Special thanks to Sam Chua : Image Creator for capturing this photo of our fair-y loving child.