I admit that I didn’t know a lot about childhood cancer until I visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis 4 years ago. I had no idea that childhood cancer, or pediatric cancer kills more children in the United States than any other disease. I didn’t realize it is the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 15.
Thinking about being the parent of one of the 180,000-240,000 children diagnosed with cancer each year gives me chills but knowing what St. Jude does to lead the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer gives me hope that one day, no child will die from cancer.
7 Ways You Can Support the End of Childhood Cancer
In honor of September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to give you some ways that you and your family can support St. Jude’s lifesaving mission: Finding cures. Saving children.®
Know the Facts about Childhood Cancer
While adult cancers are often linked to lifestyle or environmental factors, cancer in children is different in several ways.
In a young person, cancer is less likely to be caused by the patient’s environment or lifestyle. Instead, cancer-causing genetic changes (called mutations) are most commonly thought to occur by chance. However, in about 8% of cases children are born with genetic changes that increase their risk of getting cancer. Learning what genetic changes caused a cancer can help doctors diagnose it more effectively. Going forward, this information may also help scientists develop better treatments.
Pediatric cancer treatments vary according to the type of cancer. They can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or sometimes immunotherapy. Sometimes a patient receives more than one of these treatments. The length of time needed for treatment differs depending on the type of cancer. In general, treatments take several months or even years.
About 7,500 patients are seen at St. Jude annually, most of whom are treated on a continuing outpatient basis and are part of ongoing research programs. The hospital also has 78 beds for patients requiring hospitalization during treatment. St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world.
Patients at St. Jude are referred by a physician, and nearly all have a disease currently under study and are eligible for a clinical trial.
Understand How Research by St. Jude Has Increased the Childhood Cancer Survival Rate
Every single day researchers and doctors at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital work on better methods for diagnosing cancer and developing new therapies for children with cancer. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago. Browse the latest discoveries by St. Jude researchers here and read the survivor stories.
Support September Walk/Run Events
If you’re not up for running a 10K, half marathon, or marathon for St. Jude as part of St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, join a 5K September St. Jude Walk/Run event in your city. This September during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® is inspiring hundreds of thousands of people across the nation to unite behind a shared goal of ending childhood cancer. Throughout September, St. Jude supporters from coast to coast will join St. Jude Walk/Run events taking place in 63 communities.
You can get involved by:
- Registering for one of the St. Jude Walk/Run events by visiting stjude.org/walkrun
- Donating to participants or volunteering at one of the events. Learn more at stjude.org/together
- Signing up for the St. Jude Walk/Run Virtual Event to walk, run and fundraise for the kids of St. Jude
Look for Ways to Support Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Through National Partners
In addition to September Walk/Run events taking place nationwide, more than 30 national partners are supporting St. Jude through various Childhood Cancer Awareness Month activities in September. Look for ways you can support partners at retail locations and online.
Partners include Kmart, Chili’s® Bar & Grill, Pier 1, Amazon, Shaw Floors, CBS Sports, Touchdowns Against Cancer, CARS, Varsity Brands, Window World, Paypal, Lancôme, Jewelers for Children, Cox Automotive, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, ARS Rescue Rooter, Texas de Brazil, Nora Fleming, Publishers Clearing House, Pollo Campero, Nurse Mates, My Salon Suite, Coton Colors, Bimbo USA, Blo Blow Dry Bar, Winston Flowers, Sears, Ocean Spray, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, SAINT, Lamps Plus and New Balance.
Winston Flowers is just one partner that supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. They composed a sweet collection of peach- and cream-colored roses, fragrant oregano, and seasonal greenery for their Charity in Bloom bouquet. As part of their support, Winston Flowers contributes 20% of the purchase price from this floral design to St. Jude. Available anywhere in the United States for the month of September, Charity in Bloom can be ordered here.
Fundraise, Train, and Run as a St. Jude Hero
I started fundraising, training, and running as a St. Jude Hero just a month after visiting the St. Jude campus. I never considered myself a runner. I hadn’t ever run a half marathon nor had I ever raised $2500 for a cause but I was inspired to run for a reason.
As a mom of two healthy teens, the thought of being told “your child has cancer” feels terrifying but my visit to St. Jude showed me it’s a place of hope. Not only is St. Jude one of the most highly rated nonprofits and a leader in treating childhood cancer, it is a place that is dedicated to letting families focus on helping their child live. St. Jude takes of the big things and the smallest details.
Families never pay for treatment, food, and housing so they can concentrate on taking care of their child. When parents pull up to the front doors for treatment, they hand over their keys, help their child out of the car and into one of the awaiting Red Flyer wagons, while someone parks their car.
Kids can continue their schooling on the St. Jude campus through visits to St. Jude School or through tutors that work with them at their bedside. Once they’re able to return to school, this allows them to return to their same grade, not having lost any instruction. St. Jude has resources and experts to help families every step of their journey. Isn’t that amazing?
From big things to the smallest details, St. Jude takes care of families so it’s hard not to support an organization that supports children with cancer and their families in such incredible ways.
By signing up to run as a St. Jude Hero, we run to support current St. Jude patients and their families. We also run for future generations because the causes of childhood cancer are not completely understood. We run not for PRs but for the money. Every fundraising dollar counts and running for St. Jude is the rare time when money means everything.
Anyone can run be a St. Jude Hero and run for the kids of St. Jude. To find more information about races and registration, visit the St. Jude Heroes site. For more about why I run, read my past posts:
- 9 Reasons to Run as a St. Jude Hero During St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend
- How St. Jude Heroes Inspires a New Generation to Care about Ending Childhood Cancer
- The Tough Road to 13.1: Why I Pushed Myself to Run My First Half Marathon
Donate to My St. Jude Memphis Race
This December my family will travel to Memphis for the fourth year in a row for St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend. While there’s always the incentive of eating at Memphis favorites like Central BBW and Flying Fish over the weekend, they run for the same reason I do: Finding cures. Saving children.
Over the years, my teens have learned why the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is so important. I’m proud they’re committed to ending childhood cancer and helping other kids live.
If you feel compelled, I’d love it if you’d make a tax deductible donation to this year’s race through my St. Jude Heroes page: http://heroes.stjude.org/LeticiaB
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is an amazing place that provides so much hope to families. While September may be Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, raising funds is a year-long venture. To learn more about St. Jude, you can:
- Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org
- Read amazing stories and watch videos from St. Jude Inspire,
- Like St. Jude on Facebook
- Follow St. Jude on Twitter and Instagram
- Subscribe to the St. Jude YouTube channel
- Read my past posts about St. Jude here
I am a St. Jude Blog Ambassador and St. Jude Heroes Ambassador. I volunteer my time to write about St. Jude through my blog and social media channels and mentor fellow St. Jude Heroes in the Washington, D.C. area. In my roles, St. Jude has covered past travel expenses to visit campus and sometimes provides me with products, but no compensation was received for this post. All expenses related to running St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend are personally paid for, including an annual $1000 donation to St. Jude.