You are on page 1of 10

Zachary 1

Jenny-Lu Zachary
Tamera Davis
English 1213 Composition II
July 5, 2014
Cancer touches all of us at some time or another, either directly or indirectly. We seldom
think of cancer striking an innocent child. Facts show that cancer is the leading cause of death
by disease in children. The number of those being diagnosed is increasing, but with the intense
research by treatment centers devoted to finding a cure for this disease, the death rates are
declining. The cause of childhood cancers is virtually unknown at present but clinical studies
and research are working towards wiping cancer out. These children and their families are faced
with extensive financial burdens. Childhood cancer centers allow the families of these children
to focus on helping their children live. Treatments are made available to them without regard to
their ethnic background or financial status. The funding for these centers is heavily dependent
on donations in order to not only treat the patients, but to find cures and alleviate the financial
burden on the families. Much of the funding is raised by people participating in fundraisers such
as, walks, runs and lemonade stands. We must help to find a cure for this dreaded disease, and
we can do that by giving of ourselves monetarily or donating our time in an effort to make a
difference in a child.

Zachary 2

A Smile in Exchange for Saving a Life
Cancer touches us all at some time or another, either directly or indirectly. I am writing
about this horrible disease, childhood cancer in particular, because I have known and been
touched by a child in my town who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that strikes
children in particular. We don’t think about cancer affecting young children; it’s an old person’s
disease, right? Wrong! Cancer isn’t picky about race, ethnic background, or financial standing.
It strikes children for unknown reasons at an alarming rate and kills many each year. There is
much research being done and much more to do to understand and effectively treat these
children. The financial burden to treat cancer is unthinkable, but with our help, we can donate
time and money to allow the children’s cancer centers to continue the research and to provide the
appropriate care for children diagnosed with cancer, regardless of their financial status.
Great progress has been made in the effort to understand and treat childhood cancer.
What is childhood cancer? Cancer is the result of abnormal cells which grow and spread rapidly
as opposed to a normal cell which grows, divides and dies. When cells grow out of control, they
stick together to form tumors. These tumors can cause damage to the body where they form and
they can spread to surrounding tissue and organs causing damage or even death. Currently,
childhood cancers cannot be prevented. “Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among
U.S. children between infancy and age 14” (Snapshot 1). Survival rates have increased in the
past 20 years, and death rates have declined. This can be attributed to significant advances in
treatment. These advances have resulted in long term remission and, in some cases, even a cure
for many children with cancer. The cost of such treatments is astronomical and even though
some health plans cover some or all of the costs of children’s cancer center treatments, the
benefits vary. Childhood cancers must be treated differently than adult cancers and there are
Zachary 3

several different children’s cancer centers that provide the intensely specialized treatments these
children need.
Causes of childhood cancers are, for the most part, unknown. A select few can be
explained by genetic or chromosome abnormalities. Possible risk factors can also be
environmental exposures before conception or during pregnancy. Exposure to chemicals and
pesticides at a young age or the magnetic field from power lines are suspecting contributors to
childhood cancers. Research has also shown that children with Down Syndrome have a higher
risk of leukemia which is the leading type of diagnosed cancer in children. Cancers in children
are not linked to lifestyle. Early diagnosis is critical, but rare. “In 80% of kids, cancer has
already spread to other areas by the time it is diagnosed” (About 4). Some types of cancer occur
mostly in teenagers while some never occur after five years old. White and Hispanic children
have a slightly higher chance of developing cancer, but in general, it strikes randomly with no
regard to geographic location, ethnic group or social class. Many die within five years of
diagnosis. Even more will not live a normal lifespan with the average age of death being eight
years old. The number of children diagnosed with cancer is astounding. “Worldwide a child is
diagnosed every three minutes” (About 1). Progress, due to research and treatment, is evident as
more children are being successfully treated. “Children diagnosed with all forms of invasive
cancers have raised over the past years, however, death rates declined.” (Snapshot1). This is a
statistic that is moving in the right direction.
We are all affected by this disease, whether directly or indirectly. We just don’t think
about cancer striking a child and certainly not one we know. I have personally known two
children in my small rural hometown that have been diagnosed with rare forms of childhood
cancers. Each of these kids has had a very different outcome. We were all shocked when we
Zachary 4

heard the news that a girl in our small town had been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma. She was
a perfectly normal, active, healthy sixth grader from an affluent family. She had a knot on her
shin for a while but it had gone unnoticed due to it being winter and she wore long pants most of
the time. The doctors gave them the dreaded news they could never have prepared themselves
for. Treatment would be radical, extensive and very, very expensive. The expenses went far
beyond treatments. There were hotel bills for her family, meals, fuel to name a few, all while her
parents were taking a leave from their jobs. Our town pulled together and had fundraisers to help
lighten the financial burden. That was four years ago. Her treatment is still ongoing with
follow-up surgeries. The doctor visits are less frequent but the medical bills continue to come in.
In another case, a ten year old boy was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer. He, too, was
a healthy, active child from a good family environment. Again, our town pulled together to help
out financially. He fought an amazing battle which, sadly, he lost one Christmas Eve. Both of
these children and their families experienced life changing events. These events not only
affected them and their families, but also people, like me, who never dreamed of a kid getting
cancer. From that time on, it has been a goal of mine to help make a difference in the lives of
those stricken with cancer, most especially children.
We need to find a cure for this dreadful disease. We, too, need to have research “focused
on preventing the lifelong damage” (About 5) the treatments cause to these young people just as
their brains and bodies are developing. There is an enormous amount of work to be done, all of
which requires a mind boggling amount of funding. Organizations have formed to offer support
to families and to ease the burden of the expenses involved in treating their child. Most
importantly, there are children’s cancer centers or hospitals that specialize in the diagnosis and
treatment of children with cancer. “St. Judes is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be
Zachary 5

designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute.” They are
intensely involved in their mission of wiping cancer out, all at a cost of 1.9 million dollars each
day. Public donations provide more than 75 percent of the funding required to continue the vital
research needed to find causes, cures and treatments for a cancer that is still so mysterious even
after great strides have been made towards the ultimate goal of wiping cancer out. The amazing
part of this goal includes the fact that the families of St. Judes never receive a bill for the
treatment, travel, housing or food!
We do not know the causes of childhood cancers, but their presence is very real.
“Everyday, 42 children are diagnosed with cancer” (Childhood Cancer Facts 2). The number of
children diagnosed with invasive cancer is on the rise; however, the survival rate of 5 years has
declined and the death rate has declined as well. Environmental causes are suspected but the
causes of childhood cancers are unknown and they aren’t from choices a child has made. These
children need a cure. Researchers are passionate to find a way to wipe this disease out. Clinical
trials are devoted to children with cancer. Childhood cancer centers are striving to make these
state of the art treatments possible for these children without preference to where they live, or
their financial status. We can help make that possible by giving a little bit of ourselves.
Monetary gifts are of great importance to the operation of child cancer centers. They depend on
the donations of others to make their goals possible. We can all get involved in fund raisers or
donating time to make a difference in whether a child lives or dies. “Much of the funding for
research comes from kids, parents and family members who raise funds through lemonade stands
and shaving their heads and walking and running and biking and dancing and selling cookies”
(Childhood Cancer Facts 3). St. Judes Children’s Hospital strives to provide in a way that the
family only has to “worry about helping their child live” (Vision 1). It has been said that there is
Zachary 6

no greater reward than the smile on a child’s face! Imagine that smile coming from a child
whose life you may have helped to save!

Zachary 7

Jenny-Lu Zachary is a sophomore student at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
She is currently seeking a degree in Communication Disorders. Upon completion of this degree
is intends to pursue a degree in radiation therapy. Her goal is to make a difference in the lives of
those facing potentially life threatening diseases. Her strongest belief if that can all make a
difference in someone.

Zachary 8

Works Cited
“A Snapshot of Pediatric Cancers.” National Cancer Institute. 2013. 28 June 2014.
“About Childhood Cancer.” St. Baldrick’s Foundation. 28 June 2014.
“Childhood Cancer.” Cancer.Net. 2014. 30 June 2014.
“Childhood Cancer Facts and Statistics.” People Against Childhood Cancer. 2011. 1 July 2014.
“Vision for the Future.” St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 2014. 29 June 2014.

Zachary 9

Jenny-Lu Zachary
Tamera Davis
English 1213 Composition II
July 5, 2014
Annotated Works Cited
“A Snapshot of Pediatric Cancers.” National Cancer Institute. 2013. 28 June 2014.
“About Childhood Cancer.” St. Baldrick’s Foundation. 28 June 2014.
Cancers that strike kids are different from those that strike adults. This article addresses
the need to approach the treatment and research with the specifics of cancers that attack kids. It
is well written and informative to readers who are unaware of the differences in the types of
cancer and their targets. It also stresses the importance of taking into account the lifelong
damages to the children, caused by treating the cancers at present. The St. Baldrick's Foundation
is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for
childhood cancers.
“Childhood Cancer.” Cancer.Net. 2014. 30 June 2014.
“Childhood Cancer Facts and Statistics.” People Against Childhood Cancer. 2011. 1 July 2014.
Zachary 10

This publication provides a broad range of information about the different types of
cancers which attack children. It is a well written source of statistics and facts pertaining to this
disease in children as compared to adults. It also touches on the topic of how childhood cancer
incidences and survival rates have changed over the year. This is an advocacy community on a
mission to raise awareness of childhood cancer.
“Vision for the Future.” St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 2014. 29 June 2014.
This is an insightful article on the many facets of St. Judes Research Hospital. Within
this article is an abundance of information from the mission statement to the enormous services
the organization strives to provide in order to improve and save the lives of children facing
cancer. St. Judes does not want to merely treat children with cancer today. They, instead, are
working towards curing this dreadful disease so that it will no longer impact our children. St.
Judes is a ground breaking resource in the research and treatment of childhood cancers.
(Revised July5, 2014)